Minor Planet 1980 RE1


i’ve replayed the scene in my mind so many times:
you’re on the balcony, gauze curtains peeled back to expose
your bare shoulders and the mauve dawn
which holds the moon to its tangerine promise

and as you find the shutter, i can’t find the words
because all my synapses can capture is the beautiful blur

                                          the view from halfway down

i didn’t know you, and there’s a guilt in this
as i peer over the ledge to assess the damage
a notebook and pen in my shaking hands

i hope you’ll forgive my prying mind
as it struggles to locate you on this earth
but your organs in orbit are their own burning stars
and you know it’s okay to cry at the moon


The drive from Stepping Hill, stunted and quiet
the inky black of the sky staining our faces
despite our unspoken pleads for light.
The defeated thud of heavy car doors

and Uncle is looking up—dumbstruck
as if stars don’t exist down south
and wordless, we join him
necks craned towards infinity

Ursa Major, he says, sounding pleased with himself.
A Gemini twin mumbles for only the other to hear.
That one looks like a swan, chimes Nana,
happy to be involved.

For a second, there is silence.

And in that moment, something shifts:
              the stars above align into grids
beyond our earthly grasp
              dividing our galaxy into neat, unfair portions.
The constellations iron themselves out like Uncle’s Sunday best.

We keep very still.

Inside lures us with its promise
of a freshly boiled kettle and feel-good TV.
And begrudgingly we go,
inwardly thanking whoever’s responsible
that Cancer no longer sits in the driveway.

The Law of Conservation of Mass

allow me the pleasure
of skipping the details—
physics class. Mr. Grey
tells us that matter can
never be destroyed, only

so i think of burning books.
if science can account for all that loss
then let gravity lose its grip,
let me float high beyond this classroom,
glass ceiling fracturing into fractals of ice
the cosmos opening itself for me
just enough to slip through and douse the fire
in the Library of Alexandria

as i reach out to touch
every charred line, it’s clear now.

all these words
i’ll never read
pressed under time
into one drop of ink.
the pen is in my hand.