EKPHRASIS ON SATURN, MARS, VENUS, AND JUPITER LINING UP IN RARE CELESTIAL SPECTACLE
this is what punctuation looks like: gratuitous
extravagance in the face of almost-death.
we are running out of time: why are you breathing
between words? everything is
returning sideways and we are running out
of things to call new. somehow we are dancing still:
it is their turn to watch & are you wondering still
what we look like to the debris? [ ] used to tell me how
we were protected from catastrophe
by a stroke of gravitational luck. i wonder where
we are meant to put our fondnesses in this system
of approximate death. i am drawing lines across
a star-map for you: this memory is too
shallow for you to remember & i must
hold a funeral attended well enough for the both of us.
we were never supposed to matter enough
to be able to look up fruitfully—we were never
supposed to grow our own futures in the soil, look, death is
only consequent if there is someone around
to mourn. will you stay, for me? when the sun caves in and only
our emojis remain. will you digitize it all for us?
will you tell our corpses we were here, wondrous
and watching the sky draw patterns
for us to pray to?
will you ask for us to try again?
at the end of the world, will you think of kissing me?
will you live long enough just to feel it again?
will the planets look like familiar friends?
what of water, of surveillance, of psychiatry, of all
our other cities? will you build
them again, this time
tell the moon i would swallow
it if i could. tell jupiter
thank you / look
up again for me & call it
chance. everything else:
is an orchestrated plan. agriculture
looks discordant from up there.
what are we doing? let the soil swallow
you too. i’ll meet you in there.
Umang Kalra is a writer from India and the founding EIC of VIBE. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Wax Nine, Lucy Writers’ Platform, and elsewhere. They are a two-time Best of the Net Anthology finalist and a Pushcart nominee. Read more at umkalra.persona.co.