Poem I Would Send Into Space

Rebecca Aronson | Poetry

Through a long childhood of visits
to planetaria, observatories, dark sky centers
across a scattering of cities
I refused somehow
to retain the names and positions
of nearly any single body
of that vast wonderment
of nothingness and teeming light.
I would drift into the projected
astral plane, dreaming already
among the weightlessness and sparkle,
wearing a cold veil of stardust
and breathing the lost particles
of all that ever was or would be.
I don’t know the age of the universe,
can’t name more than a couple of constellations;
I wouldn’t trust myself
to navigate by north star, Venus,
or even the sun. Not for lack
of anyone trying to teach me,
not for lack of love of looking, gaping
into a star-flecked expanse
from any car hood or blanket
or beside a dying campfire. Stumbling
along a faintly trampled path
in an unfamiliar country-spot
away from all the city’s leaking luster,
I’d see the real-deal night sky
still watered down
with urban glow, but more
than my vision’s usual command.
And there I am, riveted
in place, neck bent back
like I am hung there,
a mere stunned speck, mouth-breathing,
pupils no doubt dilating
as if to swallow it down,
the overwhelm. A student says
contemplating space sends him
into a tightly curled ball, frightened
by his own lack of magnitude,
his own/our own want
of mattering; I nod my own relief:
there’s more than we could wreck,
there’s everything still out there
out of reach.