The view near a black hole
It feels like a comet disintegrating
just before it nears the sun—
no radiant trails of ice,
nothing to see.
It’s like an unexpected mudslide.
A killing shot in the inky dark
that makes no sense.
A half-built house—
on the wall,
weeds on the windowsill.
It’s the bus mirror that almost clipped
your kid in the head.
Snow and static
on the tv.
The doctor’s face at two a.m. struggling
to show nothing.
Like the urge to jump,
to cut, to release the safety bar
while the roller coaster flips
everyone over. You lose your glasses,
your contacts, your prosthetic arm,
The selfie you didn’t mean to take.
The call you shouldn’t have made.
The tree in the storm that just missed
The one that didn’t.
First published in Dark Matter, Aldrich Press, 2015.
Despina, moon of Neptune
She said she’d rather sing alone
than perform for some random guy,
but then Voyager 2 flew by,
eyes trained on her curved form
like a desperate man (the kind
whose lady walked away forever).
He just didn’t know when to look aside.
She said she tried to hide, quiet her light
against her father’s blue sky, but the lens
found her four times. She gave up
silence for fame, gave up space
and time, until the sun finally fell
down across the steely horizon.
Her father Neptune didn’t seem to care
and that was what hurt her most.
The galaxy beyond everything she knew
was so much less infinite than she’d hoped.
The camera took what he wanted
and left. Despina endured the scrutiny
of a thousand careless eyes—
In the end, she would only wear white,
the color of purity, and not even the dark
could get her to sing anymore.
First published in WMNR The Night Cafe with Bill Duchon online, Oct. 3, 2014.