A new poem from from Zoë Higgins.
What’s Been to Space
Thirty-two monkeys have been sent to space, and twelve dogs,
fruit flies with the genes of fruit flies and an American
named Alan Shepard. The most famous dog in space was Laika who died,
the most famous American was Neil Armstrong who died
a little later. The pencils of innumerable Russians have been to space
and drifted over tundra of calculations
like snowy owls. Elon Musk’s dreams
have been to space, and spiralled on re-entry
around just himself. All the sputniks have been sent to space,
all the vostoks and the chandrayaans, the apollos the voyagers
and mariners and pioneers and explorers, all our frontiers
have been sent to space to live as midshipmen
and mean-eyed cowboys.
And South American guppies
have been sent to space, and Coca-Cola in dispensers engineered
to keep the fizz, irradiated beef for hamburgers and the blood
and body of Christ. Buzz Aldrin took communion on the moon
where there was never wheat or vines just silver dust
matte on the soles of his moon boots.
The coordinates of our positions have been to space,
our one-click payment history has been to space, Rona with her calabash
has been to space and not come back. Rhiannon of the silver horse
has been to space and, let’s be real, what hasn’t been to space,
what haven’t we hurled away from us toward a quiet moon?
The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again later this year.