Antlia

by Tim Jones


The good Abbé
had a telescope, and time
and a cloth ear
when it came to names

Abbé Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille
You'd think a name like that
would awaken a sense of rhythm
in the most prosaic of men

a sense that would guide his choices
as he looked up
from the Cape of Good Hope
at a southern sky crying out for names

But no. He wished to honour
Robert Boyle, great father of the Air Pump
Antlia Pneumatica and Machine Pneumatique
that's the name he lumped me with

Dogs, bulls, and virgins
wrapped in their antiquity
chased me from the north
with their mortifying laughter

Later someone had mercy
shortened me to Antlia
People now think
I'm named after ants or antlers

Squint and you can see me
crawling through the southern sky
keeping my head down
as air leaks from my broken heart


Copyright © 2003, Tim Jones
Antlia Pneumatica

Antlia, the Air Pump
by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille


Tim Jones lives in Wellington, New Zealand. He divides his time between writing, being a husband and father, and content management work. His short fiction and poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies in New Zealand, the UK, the USA, Australia, and Canada. His first collection of fiction, Extreme Weather Events, was published in 2001, and poetry collection Boat People followed in 2002. To find out more, please visit his website.

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