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Astronaut of Another Earth

Madronna Holden

I

Someone has polished the sky–

There is a burnished track to heaven

in your eyes

 

And now you are the one

to speak to the night

on our behalf.

 

Bearing the weight

of everything left behind,

you labor through

the breath of the world.

 

Who would have guessed

light could be so heavy?

 

II

Your hand moves like

a breeze out of breath:

your leg like

the thought of a leg.

Your blood floats upward

as if your heart

were extraneous.

 

Only your eyes hold

something from our

shared galaxy of skin,

where we stand

with you in the wind

and the rain

 

Breathing

 

III

Astronaut of another earth–

what made you think

you could learn the

language of the stars

without vanishing

into the teeth of time?

 

Will it help to send you

to a more distant star?

 

Will it help to send you

to a dream?

 

You walk on moon lava

past its prime—or maybe

you’re just on a movie set

somewhere in Texas

and your moon is only

the slim silver globe

of belief in your eyes

 

which might slip from

your hands at any moment

and shatter

 

IV

So near the center

of emptiness

it is important to

do everything

properly.

 

Look back carefully

at your home body

in its precious coat

of skin. 

 

Look well: your vision

stands in for each of us

who might fall toward the sky

on our trajectory of bones

our cosmos of flesh

with its solar eyes,

lunar heart,

starlit cells

in alluvial milk.

 

V

Astronaut

sailing a ship without a mast

to the island of fate

 

I hear your voice coming to us

from the day before yesterday.

 

Hello, Universe—

are you listening?

 

Can you separate

your soul or ours from

the shooting stars?

 

VI

It rains upward as you swim

to a coral sea under

the promised sun

steering for the reef of creation.

 

You ride the beating wing

of your heart as if space

were your mother blackbird

and earth her egg

in the nest of the universe.

 

What moves through you

and what you move through

are one and the same:

 

The infinite.

 

 

 

 

 

Madronna Holden is a folklorist, storyteller, and retired university teacher whose award-winning poetry has appeared in the anthology, Dona Nobis Pacem, as well as in American Writing, Northwest Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Fireweed, Green Fuse, Windfall, the Aurorean, and Leaping Clear, with work forthcoming in Equinox and The New Southerner. The community production of her full-length poetry drama, The Descent of Inanna, was the subject of a special aired on Oregon Public Broadcasting. She has left her teaching website (https://holdenma.wordpress.com/) online, where it continues to garner readers. She is taking the occasion of her retirement to concentrate on her poetry.