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space, black tablecloth and spilled salt: your starfields shivering behind the pollution when i was young and babyfaced and wonderous your immensity terrified me but one day, after loving after losing: you became a comfort where would i be without your existential enormity and your nightfall curtain calls falling shut to unwrap black expanse? whose to conquer but mine? whose to conquer but those who know death, know it for what it is, who know it and have held it as a thing heavy and real and cold as a stone in their hands, who know it and still dare turn skyward for answers? a man does not pray anymore after that (death and space are inextricable, are twined together in the same rope that contains vibrant, endless life) i had no idea. you remind me of home, as freezing and boiling and toxic and friendly as any familial spat you do not scare me. you soar heron-like on a canvas black like absolute nothing, wings spread far from corner to star-littered corner of how far the light stretches (pitch between like ocean depths) (and perhaps we, too: more empty than full) you come from the end, and the beginning, and whatever lies between (a solace to mere mortality, a fly in the web of continuity) you are not a god made of anything we can comprehend (probability itself keels and chokes at your feet) you arrive bearing tomorrow on apollo's back (apollo, who has nothing earthly to fear seizes up when daring to comprehend the cosmos) i have marveled at everything you have deemed show me have humbled beneath eclipse and quasi-stellar radio source you are so much more than any earthly concept your celestial sunsong, the solar astrochemistry within supernovae dwarfing anything gaia could ever present, more damning, more redeeming than any hell rained down by what frail humans could accomplish by happenstance you are nothing if not forever just as polaris tilts and wobbles in our north, you are as steady and consistent as orbital fluctuation you are reliant on the sum of your parts but you are indefinite, our planet a little spinning top insignificant in its star-spun flight paths within the visible universe how massive you are, how humanly finite (viewfinding opal eyes: how weak and yet skyward we look icarus had to have something to shoot for) o, sunspots, you are too beautiful to look at for long (without risking blindness) and yet: pitch dark, overcast natural state of everything that has ever, will ever have existed with coincidental light (everything dies, eventually. everything dies.) with you flourishes life, death, space (components woven together in the same rope) this is why, starfield, you are unlikely gravity, why you refuse to pull taffy-linked orbital paths too thin i have praised many things, but you are more than any helios of short-sighted civilizations that within the sky found the sun the only thing to fear (and not the spaces between countless stars) wondering naked faces turned up like so many daffodils and those lives lost (those souls, heavy and cold) do you have my grandfather? (perhaps wrought-iron stairs spiraling into blue-black underbelly take longer than a week to climb.) my sister now joined the ranks of those that space belongs to the minute she boarded the plane that scooped her higher towards you, to your enormity, was she scared? tell me your eggshell atmospheric arms prepared her for the cold waiting for her when she landed life and death (old and new) twine ropelike (she wraps this cord around her hands tight enough to hurt) and small things in the grand scheme get lost, like a grandmother who no longer recognizes her children and sorts through collected photos alone trying desperately to tell flesh and blood from magazine clippings and you remain indifferent because these things don’t matter to forever i seize because my sister is young and mortal and your enormity must have terrified her but she has loved (and she has lost) she will have stared death in the deep, sallow eyes (she will have held death’s warm palm and called them friend) do not let go, so help me god. keep her feet pressed to this earth you, visible universe, vibrant opal eyes of neverending do not lead her astray as you have me. your expanse begs closer, begs knees to the pavement begs shuttered eyes to eclipse; teach her not to fear her sun in the sky (though helios himself is no friend) teach her to fear the spaces between.