The James Webb Telescope Detects a Heartbeat

Terry Tierney

They say the pulses come from a distant galaxy,
an infant cluster in the first moment of birth.

But I wonder if the heartbeat is yours
there in your nebula of blood and gas
mindlessly chewing the corners of your blanket
with toothless gums,
your eyes still shut to screaming light,

the weave of distance and time
where you will always be our first child,
the edge of our farthest vision.

We squint in every spectrum
just to see you the way you are
though we know it’s the way you were
what you might have been,

larger than we can imagine
and farther than any lost prayer,
your growth beyond our lifespan.

What do you see when you look our way:
are we even there or are we infants
like you?