The Light of Us Returns from Trappist I
We expect things to continue
even though we’re tired of them. Yes.
It’s an institution. Of course I never go
myself unless, with a long sigh, I agree
to take some visiting friend. Or because
Mom promised—if I’d come—to make
my favorite. It tastes like being ten, sprawled
on the rug. Like something from a can.
We expect a certain amount of permanence.
Women know we’ll bleed. Boringly, irksomely,
month after tedious month. Until one week
our body decides to change on us. We dry up.
Skin follows generative organs. We flake.
Joints make comic noises and we’ve grown
shorter. Muscle and memory, less dependable.
Over the winter the circus disappeared. That
it had been taking only shallow breaths since
its canvas got too rotten to mend didn’t mean
its death was less surprising. The dearth
of empty space to pitch a tent in doesn’t make it
to the news until the reporter, speaking from
a wry mouth announces there’s no more planet.
What happened to the great Western civilizations?
Where’d the Phoenicians get to? And the Anasazi?
What jinx befell the feathered dinosaur? I ache
to join the guild of jiggers and joiners, miss the cult
of Mithras. Who—with Hermes gone—will teach
straw to turn to gold? Will it never snow again?
And where are the mom-and-pop neglected
diners, the polar bears, the bees.