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going home001

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we watched
brave bird
broke the canopy
of all our songs
in the going up

and perched in the thin air
and sang out

I’m going home now

as we clung
to our safe branches

and watched the falling back
through layers
that would not catch him

and a thicket of currents
that do not lead the way

and we didn’t breathe
or sing
until he caught
in the final pull
and slowed

until he was back
and we saw
home.

 

"Bullet Through Apple," by Harold Edgerton.  Photo taken 1964 and printed 1984 by Gus Kayafas.

“Bullet Through Apple,” by Harold Edgerton. Photo taken 1964 and printed 1984 by Gus Kayafas.

This very moment in front of the class
in front of the photo you took of an apple
exploded by a bullet in less time
than it takes to blink

I am thinking about the very moment
a bullet ricocheted up from a knot of wood
in our physics class
and pierced a ceiling tile

just a moment like your photo
too slick for the human eye

slicing awake the air
in front of the closed eyelids of the students

but in the very back row Donny
takes this moment because it is there
hidden between the frames

to hang his arm over the wood chair
and rest his hand on his girl’s thigh.

Asteroid Ida and its moon.  Image credit: NASA/JPL.

Asteroid Ida and its moon. Image credit: NASA/JPL.

I mine this asteroid
with the precision
of a grizzly bear
pawing at a tree.

I keep clawing
at the stability

until I break
the memory
in the force-chain

and trigger an avalanche

the pile easing
completely

the dust peeling off

into new
space.

you are hereYou are here
on this primary color earth
near the spiked sun.

You are here
clumped with friends

at the Lagrange point
between the basketball hoops.

You are here
barely pulled

when a girl bursts through
in her wide orbit

that slowly decays
along the white paint.

Pluto's moons. The moon Nix is named after the Greek goddess of the night.  Image credit: NASA, ESA, H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI) and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team.

Pluto’s moons. The moon Nix is named after the Greek goddess of the night. Image credit: NASA, ESA, H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI) and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team.

In the last narrows
of the last cave

she

unattainable

slips into the shadows

no, is the shadows.

Can you discern her frame
from the other shades
of darkness

as you dive
the long slow dive
like a descending leaf
towards her?

Is she beautiful?

Is she shapely?

Is she beautiful

she who quivers
in the cold corners

wrapped in black sky
beaded sparsely with stars?

Is she beautiful

she who out of sheer
restlessness

begets Sleep
and finally
Death?

3 haikus will launch on Mars MAVEN in 2013.  (An artist's conception of the MAVEN spacecraft orbiting Mars. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

3 haikus will launch on Mars MAVEN in 2013. (An artist’s conception of the MAVEN spacecraft orbiting Mars. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

Sometimes a poem gets to go
in your place

and say the first word
in another world.

Out of your hands
and into the vacuum

a poem gets to go
instead of you

and in your absence

it repeats and repeats
the same phrases

and grows fierce
and wild-eyed

convinced
that these few words
you gave it
say everything
that can be said

and you
if you were there
could point out
the landscape

constantly
rewritten

if only you got to go.