I

 

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.

 

 

II

 

Last night, I closed my eyes

around midnight

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

mocking laughter.

 

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

the rage

of bygone millennia

the agony

of isolation

 

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

had lost

as much as Mercury

but when I cast my gaze downward

I saw myself

intact.

 

I looked up

and bore witness.

 

 

III

 

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.

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