If I should die before I wake
I pray the lord my soul to take.
But if my dreams some wonder show
I ask him that he let me go.
Space wrecks hell on mortal minds.
Last night, I closed my eyes
and slept for unknown eons.
I travelled up
and up and up
and made claws of my hands
to tear through the atmosphere.
I floated serene across silent spans
of violet shadow
dots of light seen mostly by night
expanding to fill my view—
and then I met the moon.
I blinked at her glory.
she blinked back.
I found myself buffeted by a solar wind,
torn away from the great cosmic eye
before I could ask her what she had seen
in her many lifetimes as sentry.
This wind, now a harsh gale,
bore me to the breast of Venus.
Her beauty eclipsed
all men all women all art all nature.
As the gale began anew
my mind was overcome
by peals of
The gusts of space have teeth.
Approaching Mercury, I feared
for the weakness of my flesh.
That godly herald put me to shame.
His scarred and pitted visage
had borne torments
no feeble monkey’s mind could grasp.
I stared in horror
at the maimed form before me
and I felt
of bygone millennia
after months instants decades days
the familiar sting of biting wind
was a welcome dolor.
Welcome but for moments as it soon began
to mutilate my body
until I was sure that I
as much as Mercury
but when I cast my gaze downward
I saw myself
I looked up
and bore witness.
My ceiling is white and speckled,
entirely unlike spacetime.
Cory Willingham is an undergraduate student studying classics and political science at Boston University. He has long loved poetry, but would never have had the courage to pursue it were it not for the patient guidance and boundless kindness of his mentor, Zak Bos—a poet and educator of the highest order.