photo (3)Sometimes we wake
to find that we are
Atlas

or a passive turtle

holding everything in place
as we’ve been told

slow, steady
guardians.

Eons pass,
and if we wake again,
it is only to shift the weight
on our back
on our shell.

I say

end the sleeping.

Let our fingertips bleed
from all the pushing up.

Out-of-copyright text borrowed for a poem.  The phrase "I am on Earth right now" comes from NASA's "Global Selfie" initiative for Earth Day today.  Underlying image to the left was taken by the Juno spacecraft.  (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems).  Underlying image to the right is from an old out-of-print work. I am indebted to Dr. David Grinspoon for proposing "I am not on Earth right now" as a counterpoint.  Without his insight, this piece would not have been born.

The phrase “I am on Earth right now” comes from NASA’s “Global Selfie” initiative for Earth Day today. Underlying image to the left was taken by the Juno spacecraft. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems). Underlying image to the right is from an old out-of-print work.  The diptych “hinge” was created from photos of the ISS’s solar array.
I am indebted to Dr. David Grinspoon for proposing “I am not on Earth right now” as a counterpoint. Without his insight, this piece would not have been born.

 

Background is a raw image (i.e., uncalibrated and unvalidated) by Cassini; the intended image target was Atlas.  Image credit: Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.  Text used to build poem was borrowed from John Goad's 1699 "Astro-Meteorologica."

Background is a raw image (i.e., uncalibrated and unvalidated) by Cassini; the intended image target was Atlas. Image credit: Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute. Text used to build poem was borrowed from John Goad’s 1699 “Astro-Meteorologica.”

Metis_moonTurned fly
then swallowed

by her husband

she no doubt mulled annulment
from inside his belly.

She could have wallowed
encrusted with his innards

but
smart mother
smirked

and spent the darkness
forging her daughter’s armor.

What else could she do to pass the time?

She made it double-thick.
Maybe she sang a few old war songs.

And she didn’t flinch
when her girl Athena
charged out of Zeus’ skull

not dainty
not amenable
not cheerful

coated with her mother’s courage
and battle-ready.

Background image is last picture taken by LADEE.  (Image credit: NASA.)  Cut text for poem borrowed from Robert Burton's "Melancholy" (1801).

Background image is final picture taken as part of the NASA LADEE mission. (Image credit: NASA.) On April 17, 2014, NASA confirmed that LADEE had impacted the lunar surface, as planned.  Cut text for poem borrowed from Robert Burton’s “Melancholy” (1801).

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