Here is how it is with you:
Every day I wonder what is missing.
Cracks in the sidewalk. I avoid them, wouldn’t
want to break her back,
smaller things, still
I would not say to you.
You are lovely and white-teethed
and whenever I am around you I feel slovenly,
like a garage sale item in a department store.
Sometimes you call, although we have little
to talk about.
We both wish it wasn’t this way. We tell others
we are close.
So here it is. Let me tell you.
There is a way that you think that is wrong. I would tell you that it is wrong, except
a big part of the wrongness of it is that
no one is allowed to tell you that you are wrong,
and this of course makes telling you about the problem
problematic, etc etc
and so when we speak nothing is wrong and there are no problems and you are just lovely as always what’s
you is me and
thine and thee and fee and fee
fi fo fum
before I speak to you
I must put on my space suit.
There are theories!
of space suit design.
There are things to take into consideration
if you want to leave this atmosphere.
The requirements of pre-breathing,
the possibilities of decompression sickness of course, but most of all —
do you construct joints
which can shift effortlessly, delicately, with the kind of care
and attention to detail an astronaut requires
under this self-imposed pressure?
Here is the formula.
(Now write that down
in your goddamn
And so we form suits out of multiple layers, first
the bladder layer
all rubber and air, airtight, sealing in nothingness until nothing can get in, (which
will not ‘pop’ like a balloon, no,
not even if punctured) then
the restraint layer
which takes the stress caused by pressure inside the suit, all
openings and folds
in their appropriate places
gores and convolutes, convolutes, convoluted
the Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment —
It keeps one warm
protects one from solar radiation, and
weighing less than a single strawberry
and traveling some kilometers per second
could wreak some serious havoc
on, say, some silly misplaced torso)
and last of all that helmet that melds
into the rest of me like an extension of pearl white skin
as if all of this were just one massive onesie
some kind of intergalactic pajama set
actually I’m all set for our slumber party
let me just grab my oxygen tank
Heeeeeeey. How’ve you been?
I think I saw you the other day but I wasn’t sure
I reached my hand through the ether, gores expanding, convolutes contracting into folds (it was in fact,
quite effortless, good job engineers)
to tap you
on the shoulder
you floated a slow, elegant 180
in response —
of course I couldn’t see into your helmet nor you into mine, all was
unending darkness, the reflection
of the night sky for trillions of light-years,
emptiness, unknown, the horror etc was that
Please, tell me you’re elsewhere these days:
vacationing in Florida, turning gold and silver
in an equatorial sun
sailing boats in Antartica, oh tell me you
but interplanetary space yesterday.