Zinnia Smith

Zinnia Smith is a writer and painter, living between Boston and New York. She graduated from St. Lawrence University with a BA in Fine Arts and English in 2015. Her work has been previously published with The Southampton ReviewYankee Magazine, and online with Story Magazine.




Tonight, we chased mars

around the sky.


Once, the Ancients tested the muscles of their eyes

pppppplooking for the dim second star of the dipper

ppppppppppppppppppppppp(my own eyes are too weak to spot it)


but with the telescope we spot a

ppppppglobular cluster like a puff of smoke—

pppppppppppppppppprecision is necessary to discover


Saturn’s rings;


light beams stretch out like the points of a compass,

ppppppfocusing and expanding

pppppppppppppppppppppppthe lights bouncing off the lens—

pppppppppppppppppchromatic aberrations that spread the light to colors—


and I think it’s beautiful to

ppppppwatch Jupiter’s light twist, spiral in

and out like a

pppppppppppppppppdancing spider web of light.


The telescope turns the luminaries

into olivine dust


and for a moment,

I joined the school of the lapidary,


collecting the lamps of the night sky

by cutting the tilt of a lens,


obstructing or collecting

light waves from epochs ago.


A pinpoint born of a nebula

as the Ancient’s lineage begins and decays,


all the little white

punctures are


the density of matter

in the dark space.



ppppppppppppppppppppppppppTell me Father, is this the universe?

ppppppppppppppppppppppppppIs this the cosmos?

ppppppppppppppppppppppppppThe system of the heavens?

ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppRed Mars, glowing.



Father, tomorrow arrives in the morning, and

ppppppI wish I read more—

ppppppI wish I knew more—

ppppppI wish I could stop and try again.

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