Verse 1

SEM image of the machined coal

Shadow stands up under the
trees in Victoria Park
whose own filigree shadows lie
across matted russet leaves
on the sodden green turf that
the morning’s tai chi moves
barely mar – I see this from
the Link bus window as we
cross the intersection at
the bottom of the hill where
Kathmandu’s winter sale fails
to persuade me there’s much to
gain from any promise of
warmth other than what I get
when, while rain rattles against
the bedroom window at dawn,
I press my ear to the smooth
skin between Donna’s shoulder-
blades and hear, in the hollow
chamber where she’s making dream
words, a voice that’s not the
same as hers say eerily,
‘Shadow stands up.’ It’s morning.

How did we do it?

One of the difficulties in machining on coal was not being able see through the camera on the machining stage so we weren’t sure whether we had actually machined the coal until we put it under the electron microscope. Another problem was the large cracks in the coal so we had to make the text larger than the other poems so that we could see the text over the microscopic landscape of the coals surface. We used the femtosecond laser in direct write to scribe the text into the coal. The text is ~3 mm across.

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