Infinity:is skin and bone an illusion? by Helen McKinlay


My friend says

her inner walls grow thinner as she ages.

‘It’s because you’re more connected

more open to the world’

I reply.

I know she means the walls of her heart, her emotions.


My grandchild is 18 months old

when I show her the night sky.

We brave the winter’s chill

gaze up at the Southern Cross.

‘Wow’ I cry.

‘Wow’ she calls.


Later, I find her, arms stretched skywards

to the moon shaped light in my ceiling.

‘Higher higher’ she shouts

head tipped back in ecstasy

willing her body upwards.

I feel an ancient frisson of cold night air

Selene, the lunar goddess?

I think “You too are thin walled

not long conceived from stardust.

So open to the universe

so close to miracles.”


In future weeks we speak at deeper level.

‘Moonstar moonstar Grammy.’

‘Moonstar moonstar,’ I reply.

Older and wiser at two

Thea packs her owl bag

pulls on her jacket.

‘I’m going to the moon,’ she says.

‘Are you ready?’


There is a new grandchild.

At four months old

she grabs my hair and pulls me close.

We are eyeball to eyeball.

I see into her soul –

into infinitude.


Every day at the beach now

there are jellyfish

left behind as the tide rushes back.

I gaze into their thin walled bodies

pulsating feebly

transparent in their dying –

and ponder.

Did you know infinity increases exponentially

in smaller entities?

This poem is from my book People of the Water published in early 2020.

 Since the pandemic began, more and more of us have found comfort in nature…from one pot plant in a small flat to a bird at the window,  a small garden, or a view of a tree. Somehow for me the smaller my surrounds, the more and more I see…and thus infinity. There is a lot to ponder in this word.Be safe and well look for the detail in your view.

PS. I had forgotten when posting above, that within hours the moon was to eclipse, A friend’s reminder had me wandering around under the stars…what a glorious bright night it was …and then to see the moon half golden half red and the stars of Matariki. Apparently we have to wait another 650 years to see it like that again.

Arohanui  Helen