The Distance

Cat Dixon

The Distance
 
The rockets, like shooting stars,
zip across the sky, and the red glare
 
will leave its imprint on your eye,
but take heart, for once they disappear,
 
their trails replaced with blue, you will
realize this longing isn’t your fault—
 
you, stranded on earth with oil for water
and drone bees to pollinate the new crop
 
of strawberries, with balding patches
on the crown of your head and skin tags
 
dangling like price tags from your arms
and neck, surrounded by the vultures
 
of dehydration and heat, collapsing
onto a beanbag chair filled with ashes
 
and sand. Relax. I have left you in this
dusty wasteland and now you are free
 
to repopulate and evaluate everything.
 
______________

Cat Dixon is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and The Book of Levinson and Our End Has Brought the Spring (Finishing Line Press, 2017, 2015), and the chapbook, Table for Two (Poet’s Haven, 2019). Recent poems have appeared in Parentheses Journal, Lowecroft Chronicle, and SWWIM Every Day. Website: www.catdix.com.

Author’s Comments/Backstory: “Most of my writing career has been focused on poetry, but now I’m co-writing a science fiction novel with my husband. The premise is simple: humans must leave the planet and a new home has been found. The challenge is: who gets to decide who goes to the new world and who stays behind. I believe the rich and powerful will be the first ones saved.  Of those who are left to their doom here on earth, I wonder: will it be possible to heal the planet? to ‘recreate humanity’ once a segment of the population is gone? These are of course daydreams (or nightmares) about the future that many people have, but it’s been a fun project especially during these months of staying home due to the pandemic. I wrote this poem in the persona of one of the characters from our novel.”

Editor’s Notes: Excited nitrogen causes blue and deep red colors, as would be expected from meteors passing through a nitrogenous atmosphere, especially without oxygen (think Mars). Image credit: The Alpha Monocerotids takes place every year around November 21 and produces from a few meteors per hour to potentially hundreds. The large outbursts of this shower previously occurred in 1925, 1935, 1985 and 1995 (inspacenews.com).

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