Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight


Friday, January 29, 2016


Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, "You owe me." Look at what happens with a love like that--it lights the whole sky.  --Hafiz

Birthed in the heart of heat and flame
I flung myself out this morning
all fierce and raw and joyous
into uncharted infinity.
Your astronomers will tell you my journey lasted only
eight minutes and twenty seconds
but for me it was nothing less than a lifetime: days
and months and years
and endless permutations and paths not taken.
Your sages will tell you that Krishna stretched his jaws
and revealed the universe in his open mouth
but after all this time I have yet to see
god's teeth reflecting myself back to me.

I remember the curved face of a planet
her features robed in coy mist. She
was so achingly lovely out there on her own
bathed in the mysteries of space;
I saw Venus and I wavered
but thought of you, and did not stop to caress her.
Gravity sent meteors rushing across my path
that nearly derailed me
nearly cut my life in half
but no shadow was cast and I hauled onward
burning through the blackness
at the speed of love itself.
I knew where I wanted to land
and it wasn't on a rock out in space
and it wasn't in a far galaxy
on a moon that orbits a planet nobody
has yet heard of
although I could get there if I wanted
faster than anything your physicists
have yet discovered.

For I am the unbroken Olympic record
of the universe.
I can bend but never break
be born but never die
and the void you imagine as night
is filled with me
if only you could see--

And I long for you to see.
Closing the distance between us
became an everyday miracle:
endless years for me
mere moments for you
but closer and closer I flew, blazing
past the space station on my way in: what strange
and wondrous things they are doing, gazing out
across a universe their minds can barely fathom.
I gazed back at them through a portal
at their eyes reflecting my own longing:
so far from home
and yet so close, this blue-green marble
this microscopic marvel
home to seven billion souls.

I entered earth's atmosphere and made a sun-bow
in the first droplets of water I touched
and instantly shattered into multi-hued love.
(Ablaze! Saffron indigo magenta snowy brilliance 
Disastrous and devastating and gorgeous:
my heart, if I had one
would have died of joy
in that instant.
If only I had known
how painful beauty could be!
then I might have avoided you
I might have passed you by
journeyed millions of light-years to Andromeda
been swallowed up in the Horsehead Nebula
I might have missed you altogether
and flown on across the vault of timelessness:
what would I have discovered then?

But I chose you when I was born
and there are no clouds today and if there were
I would burn them into sun-dogs just for you
so that you would look up
and see halos in the sky
and your heart would leap with wonder.

Now my wandering has brought me here;
time is relative and it slows for me
so I can stroll like summer
along the branches of the pecan tree
that sways sweetly in the morning breeze
beside your house.
And I am nearly standing still
though you will think it impossible:
this final nanosecond stretching
slowly as a god waking from a dream.
For now that I have tasted each ultraviolet shade
of the spectrum, felt the vacuum
of outer space and danced
around every limned thing that might have held me
I have arrived, sweetheart, at your window.

And there you are
still lost in sleep and somehow
far more a miracle  
than anything I've yet seen
and here I am
the single ray of light come to wake you
sparkling my way past the forgotten window-shade
to find the place I always meant to rest.
Open your eyes, love
and let me dance in them;
flung from the heart of the sun
I've traveled ninety-three million miles this morning
just to kiss your face.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Magician and the Goblin King

Sometimes it's hard to keep in mind that normal people die, too. People who've never done anything great, never burned so brightly they lit up a stadium or tilted the heads of an entire generation to look toward the stars. There are people dying right this moment who have never captured the imagination of an audience, never mastered the fine art of manipulating people's emotions, of engendering mistrust, hatred, laughter, empathy, and finally love, all swirled into one complex and ultimately human character. I find myself deeply affected by the passing this week of David Bowie and now Alan Rickman, and it's got me thinking about the afterlife, or the land between lives, or wherever it is that we go when our last breath goes coasting into the atmosphere.

In recent months I've been plodding away at reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead. To those unfamiliar with this ancient Buddhist work, it is basically a manual, a set of instructions, on how to do death. It informs the dying and the dead how to comport themselves during their passage through the portal and then through the Bardo, the land between lives. This is a place which can be confusing, terrifying, overwhelming; a place where light and dark, deities and demons, love and rage frolic side by side and can mislead the one who goes there unprepared. The Bardo is no place for the uninitiated. We who are comfortable with our dualistic, navel-gazing, stuff-hoarding existence aren't really looking for instructions on how to avoid one more lifetime spinning around the sun.  

But our newly-dead heroes, I fancy them two souls that may already have been initiated at one point or another. Doesn't the Starman seem as though he might have tripped through untold parts of the universe a time or two? and what of our dark magician--might not wily Snape have survived the dark lands, might he not have battled a few demons and toed the line of temptation? I fell into a daydream today and began wondering, fantastically, what can be going on in the Bardo with the addition of those two. I imagine Severus Snape and the Goblin King tossed about in some wild dreamscape, demons scattering, wands and codpieces and Ziggy Stardust glitter flying about, and curses growled low in British accents. I imagine each of them fierce and joyful and completely at home with both the light and the dark, madly burning away into sheer energy.

Or maybe it's a completely different scene. Perhaps they're having tea and crumpets atop the spiny back of a peaceable dragon, discussing the possibilities of being re-born as twin girls to some oppressed woman in a little-known tribe off the coast of Africa. The joys of obscurity, of living in the dust, digging down into places they've never been. Sort of gleeful to entertain these thoughts. Not so gleeful to think of them being dust themselves, which is closer to the truth, in a way. Or again, I think of the words I read not long ago in a piece called the Physicist's Eulogy, which is actually quite close to the philosophy I find in the Book of the Dead. "All the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you...and all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are (your loved ones') eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever." 

I can get on board with that. Both physics and the Tibetan Book of the Dead tell us that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. So no matter how terrifying the demons of the Bardo might be, nor how demoralizing and unbelievable it is that we've seen the magic of both Ziggy Stardust and Severus Snape disappear in one fell swoop--nothing ever really disappears. It just changes form, and goes on forever. 

Goodnight, sweet princes. We will keep watching the stars, in case of any stray glitter, or a spark from a wand, or a random strain of Space Oddity beamed back from a distant nebula. Because if you taught us anything, it's that possibility is infinite. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

It All Goes

We are all here, not because we're fucked up (most people are that) but because we know we're fucked up.
I arrive ten minutes late so that I won't have to interact with anyone, because I'm afraid if I open my mouth to speak, I will start howling. I skip the shitty black coffee and the styrofoam cup because sometimes I worry they will give me cancer. Other times I think cancer is the least of my worries.
People are already sharing.
L bares her heart about her adult son, who has left his wife and kids with no car, no cellphone, no extra clothing--just walked off in the middle of the night. The old "went out for cigarettes" jam.
J tells us jovially that he has been diagnosed with "memory loss" and after a few rambling moments, smiles and spreads his hands and stops speaking in mid-sentence. He's forgotten what else it was he was going to say. We all thank him for speaking, anyway.
P is dressed entirely in black because maybe he believes he is Johnny Cash. He says, in his deep Johnny Cash voice, that he has been thinking a lot lately about his dead wife, although she is thirty-some years gone and he is married these many years, with grown children. The holidays are strange that way. They bring up ghosts.
K makes a sudden and theatrical entrance, a half-hour late, in sweater and scarf and sunglasses, her walker preceding her like the prostrating subject of an empress. She shoos several hapless fuckers off the couch--they flee like birds from a wire--and settles herself there, snorting grandly.
Somebody's cellphone pings into the silence and somebody else glares.
I take a shaking breath. I say, without howling, "I think I'm learning about things coming and things going. That they do. Come and go. Also, I don't really like this planet anymore." And the eyes of the group rest on me. K removes her sunglasses. Nobody laughs, or pulls the "she's batshit" face, or makes any judgments. When I have finished, they thank me and move on.

J comes comes up to me after, he of the lost memories, he of the Buddha belly. His long, once-powerful arms enfold me, choke me against his shoulder. He chuckles and says softly, spitting a little into my ear, "Oh dear. It goes, it all goes. It's alright."

Dancing to the Blues

To call them the holiday blues makes them sound festive. And when you're in the midst of them you know they aren't pretty little multicolored versions of depression. They're not Hallmark-card polite, throat-clearing, back-patting "there, there" types of blues. The holiday blues are a freight train and you are tied to the tracks. They come on slow or they come on fast, and sometimes you feel them coming and sometimes you don't, but when they hit, they hit hard, and they hit you in the guts.

I thought I'd outrun them this year. I went to Mexico to pretend it wasn't Christmas, and it worked. My brain soaked up Vitamin D in copious, drunken quantities, like Hemingway on rum, sprawled out among his six-toed cats and writing like a demon. Neurons, dendrites, limbic system all thrumming to the heady amounts of love, intimacy and communication that come on tap with vacation, mixed in with greedy doses of sleep. It was like a brain spa, and my brain leisurely ordered up its own versions of Swedish massage, salt scrubs, mani-pedis, fruit peels and a few happy endings. By the time vacation ended, my brain naively thought it was ready to get back to "real life."

Cue disaster. As the plane touched down, things began to unravel. Intimacy, warmth, communication and Vitamin D hit the dark, rain-spattered sidewalk like rotted pumpkins hurled down from the freezing sky. I shrank into my beach dress and wrapped a sweatshirt around myself. I hailed a cab and tried to ignore the cabby's apocalyptic grumbling about the weather, about how Austin has changed for the worse, about a fatal accident he'd witnessed on Christmas Eve, about how the Mexicans are destroying downtown, etc, and I felt a rock beginning to form in my belly. Once home, I dug my car out from under fallen leaves, and drove back to the cold, isolated apartment which has scarcely been visited for these many months, but which had somehow, in the brief moments between touchdown and rain-spattered sidewalk, become home again.

And I didn't understand what was happening then, but the slow roar of the freight train should have sounded familiar. After all it has been the backdrop, these many years, to countless Christmas carols and refrains of Auld Lang Syne; no matter how loudly they ring or how many strangers plant kisses on my lips, there is that rumble, that screech, that gut-wrench. I woke up the following morning, alone, with the dark pressing on all sides, and my brain began to lurch like one of India's dancing bears. Why alone? it wanted to know. But I didn't have an answer. Yesterday we were basking in sun, and love, and affection. Today we are stumbling in the cold, isolated. Where is the spa? it asked. There is no spa, I replied. Love is a myth. And indeed, this seemed true. I couldn't communicate for shit. Every time I opened my mouth to speak to my beloved, it had much the same effect as it would if I were a dancing bear, opening its tortured mouth to roar. The brute with the ring in its nose, forced up onto its hind feet: Dance, Bear. Dance! And I did. I danced to the misery and confusion and isolation. I danced to the fear. I danced to the sadness. I wept with frustration. Dancing bears are not beautiful creatures. They are tragic, fearsome, trapped, bleeding, and broken. So the more I danced, the harder I hurt, and the farther away Love went.

Until I realized, looking at it from that far, far distance, that maybe it wasn't really Love at all. Maybe it was just love, the kind of love that loves you until you grow frightening. The kind of love that loves the beautiful but runs from the broken. I can hardly blame it. I am not a very nice creature, in this state, dancing to the holiday blues. But then none of us are, when we dance to our inner demons. We can choose not to. We always have that choice. But it's naive to think we don't need helping hands to guide us, people to reach out to, who will in turn reach out to us. Someone who won't run from the bear, from these ungainly paws that, after all, are asking for help: please take this ring out of my nose. Please help me to trust again.

But it doesn't matter, does it? Whether anyone is there to "help" me trust again. Silly brain. Sweet, silly, flawed, animal brain. We are not built to trust, not with the ground crumbling out from under us, or what we thought was ground, what we have spent months learning to believe was ground. No--we are built to run, to retreat, to protect ourselves when things change. This is why I have worked so very hard at learning to love--to Love--myself. That's the ground I have to start from. Love self, first, and then others, because if I can't love silly, sweet, flawed, animal me, then I can't love anyone else. If I run from the bear, then how can anybody else be expected to stick around? Maybe that's something I can pledge to do in the New Year: sit with myself. My own fearsome, broken bear.

Auld Lang Syne might suck this year, but I won't have to lay on the tracks. And maybe we can dig up some Jay-Z or some Z-Trip or some Zaytoven (it's the end of the year, after all). Anything but the blues. I'm done with them until next year.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

It Is Your Mind

Mexico: I have a whole week with nothing to do, a windswept white beach, and a busy mind that needs unwinding. I have brought along Peter Matthiessen's book The Snow Leopard, and he has picked me up and borne me along on his dream-quest through the Himalayas. All throughout this week it is as if my body is on the beach and my mind is in the clouds at the roof of the world, the sweet, fresh sweep of white snow against the immense blue of the sky; and yet I cannot quiet my thoughts. The engine of my mind still runs, relentless, a perpetual motion machine, until I run into a particular story. In one of his chapters Matthiessen invokes Hui-Neng, the sixth Ch'an Buddhist Patriarch of China, when he was asked of the prayer flags flying in the sun: Is it the flags that move? Is it the wind? And the Patriarch answered: Neither. It is your mind. And I read these few words, over and over, and time begins to slow.

The question and the answer come back in equal measure, neither bearing more weight than the other. They dance around one another in slow circles in my consciousness, their even tread wearing a smooth, patient path down my neurons. Is it the flags that move? Is it the wind? Is it the palms that move? Is it the ocean? Is it the clouds that move? Is it the sand? None of these things. It is my mind.

I experiment with what it means to rest, to cease the movement of my body. First I try the broad divan with the pillows that lies close to where the waves come hissing up the shoreline. I arrange myself so I'm propped up and can see the foam-tipped crests rushing in, can hear the music they make as they mutter the same language they've spoken for thousands of years to this same white-washed shore. I breathe deeply. I tell my muscles to let go, to un-clench, I tell my jaw to soften, my nerves to stop their screaming chorus.

But it is my mind that moves. It won't stop. I realize the irony in trying to get it to stop; I am a mind, trying to get my mind to stop trying, and it's not working because it is working too hard and I grow frustrated.

Perhaps I need a different place, a different position, I tell myself. This place isn't comfortable enough, it's too loud, it's too windy. I rise, grab up my book and notebook, retire up the beach to the hammock beneath the palms. It is quieter here, where the wind plays gently through the broad leaves and rocks the long tall trunks, swings the hammock. I can still hear the ocean faintly. Mother Ocean she is, merely a whisper at this distance, a soothing half-remembered voice. I wind myself into the hammock, go fetal, retreat to inner space. It works in much the same way as picking up a kitten by the nape of its neck; I go limp, my nervous system temporarily shut down.

But because I am not a kitten and because I have a conscious brain that niggles and wriggles and picks and percolates, the gears soon start up again. "I," it insists: I this, I that, I need, I want, I forgot but now I remember, my limbs are cramped, my neck hurts, what about changing into something dry, shouldn't I go check on this or that, I'm thirsty, I'm hungry, and on and on, like a child plucking at my elbow; it nags and bleats and cries until I resolve to get up. Exasperated, clock-less, I look at the sun, which has not changed much at all; the same shadow falls across my arm as when I lay down, which tells me I have been here mere minutes, actually. Where is the stillness, where is the quiet I so longed for back in Austin, and knew I would get from this vacation?

Ah. There. A crack has been made, a still point, a small, unruffled pool--no bigger than a puddle--somewhere among the swirling chirring chatter in my head. Wherever you go, there you are. I've brought the whole mess along, the mess that is me; it didn't somehow stay behind when I boarded the flight to Mexico, it didn't stay on the plane when I disembarked. It's here, treading the pristine sands; here, diving into the cerulean blue; it's here, when I open my eyes against the stinging salt. It's here in my held breath, here in my stubborn jawline, in every swirling thought, tucked into the chaotic dreams that crowd in like long-lost friends while the wind sings me to sleep. Truth? I am happy to see me here. I've missed the sacred mess of her, screwed-up as she might be, as batshit as it seems that she can't relax to the beat of blue-green waves shushing their white-noise whispers against secret sands.

Last night I dreamed Icarus came into my room. I was glad to see him. Every ancient culture, says Peter Matthiessen, has some iteration of a Bird-Man, or a Thunderbird, or a god with wings. In the dream he is big; his wings are enormous. Their tips scrape the walls, rasp against the woven ceiling. He is wearing his bird mask. He cocks his head to look at me; his eyes are bright behind the long, pointed beak. Without words he urges me to fly; I can sense the impatience in his powerful form, the way his feathers vibrate along their hollow bones, the quick bright jerks of his hands and his head. He turns his back to me, and I see the lattice of muscles along his supple spine. The wings rise higher. A rush of air, and he is gone.

The moon is full; it is the first full moon on Christmas in 40 years. We all sit on the beach and shout and drink a salute when she breaks free from the clouds and sails into the clear. It's not exactly a full-moon party, but it will do. Later on, when everyone has turned into bed, I will come back outside and commune with her. This nervous bright energy that stirs up my mind, makes it even harder to settle into the present, into emptiness. "Stay Present" warns a bright orange sign down the road, where traffic swells to its fullest, and there are no shoulders on the road for cyclists and pedestrians to shelter from passing cars. It's a free-for-all, and yes, you have to stay present at every moment to avoid becoming road kill. But isn't that always the way? I hear the voice of wisdom asking and answering the questions that perhaps can't entirely be answered. Is it the car that moves? Is it the road? Is it the earth that moves? Is it the moon? Is it the hawk that flies? Is it his shadow? 

None of these thing. It is your mind. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

You Can Love Anything

This may be laughable for anybody who knows me, but I have a perfectionist streak that's held me back since I was a kid. Held me back from really embracing myself and my own messed-up, weird, creative impulses. I was brilliant at being me until I was nine or so, and then stress took over and killed the spontaneity, the sense of wonder I was born with. But I think, from looking around, that this is true for a lot of us. We're born wired for joy, and somewhere early on it just gets killed, mowed down, ripped hollow by some pretty brutal life experiences. I started striving for perfection when I realized that I sucked at math, couldn't figure out how to tell time, was a disappointment to my parents (that wasn't true but I thought it, so it was sort of true), was too weird to make friends my own age, and would never be cool. Now, of course, I know that perfection is never going to happen. So I'm a lot easier on myself, most of the time. But damn if it hasn't taken a fuckload of time and effort to get right back to where I was as a little kid. 

As kids go I was pretty random. Both shy and weirdly extroverted: quiet and awkward around other kids, and friendly as hell around adults, even those I didn't know. I could talk to strangers for hours, telling them all sorts of things grownups just don't want to hear out of a kid's mouth. I remember once expounding to a new person about how, when you castrate a horse, sometimes the vet doesn't "get it all" and the horse ends up "proud-cut," or with lots of testosterone and thinking he still has a pair of balls. My mother didn't have time to head me off, so she just cringed while the nice woman listened to me and nodded woodenly. I was always talking myself into strange corners, because I wasn't sure what made for good conversation. Imaginary friends were my best bet, so I had a lot of them. They kept me company during the long hours I spent waiting for my mom to get off work.

They also traveled with me on long plane rides, which I took often, as my dad lived in Europe. I was maybe seven the first time I flew to see him by myself. I was a bit scared and a lot bored, and also lonely. I always missed my mom on the way to see my dad, and then I missed my dad on the way back to live with my mom. It was a lose-lose situation in that respect, although I got to live in Scotland and Holland in the summers, and I learned to sail on the Zuider Zee--so I didn't complain. But it did lead to one of the more ridiculous attachments I've ever formed: even more ludicrous than that short, tubby, balding George Costanza-lookalike guy I had a torrid fling with one winter, much later in life. 

But I digress. This flight seemed like the longest and most arduous expedition ever. It was like Columbus must have felt before he discovered America, except at least I knew where I was going. I just didn't know when we were going to get there. I'd bothered and pestered and pleaded with the flight attendants, and they'd repeated ad nauseam what time we'd be arriving, but it didn't make any sense to me. It was a nine-hour flight, but I was seven. Nine hours was longer than I'd ever slept in my life, longer than any school day, longer than I'd ever been without a person that I knew. Sending a kid from Alaska to London, alone, and expecting her to behave, and to understand that she will, at some point, arrive at a place where a person she knows and loves is waiting for her--well, it was beyond my scope. I needed a friend. There weren't any on hand, so I decided to make one. 

Those were the days of airplane meals. Like, real ones. We'd been served up a real dinner, I think roast beef but I can't remember clearly. I just know there was a dinner roll on the plate. Also, there was a toothpick so that you could clean your teeth after. And there was a nice man sitting next to me who let me have his toothpick in addition to my own. So of course, what do you get when you have a dinner roll and two toothpicks? An adorable fat little man with legs! There were olives in my neighbor's martini, and these went onto the ends of the toothpicks, and made perfect shoes. A carrot slice, when pushed into the face of the roll, became a nose--I was an Alaskan kid after all, an experienced sculptor of snowmen--and somebody got me some more toothpicks for arms. I can't be sure what we did for the eyes, but for some reason I think they were peanuts stuffed into his bready face, above the carrot stick. Either peanuts, or raisins. What I do know, is that I adored my yeasty little friend. I gave him a name. I don't recall what it was. Something ridiculous, for sure. I had a tendency to be distinctly uncreative with Imaginary Friend names. I had a dragon named Dragon and a tiger named Tige, and a unicorn named Corny, and so on. So this little guy's name was probably Rolly or something similar. But I loved him. We were going to be best friends, forever and ever. I looked into his sympathetic peanut eyes and whispered secrets to him and didn't feel so alone anymore. I fell asleep cuddling him, his salty little olives dripping on my plaid dress, crumbs flaking in my hair. 

When we landed and I gathered up my stuff, Rolly was crushed firmly under my arm. I was nervous about getting through customs by myself, where my dad waited on the other side, but I knew Rolly had my back. He was my real live friend! We were going on an adventure! One of the flight attendants walked me through the airport to customs and stood in line with me and Rolly. She complimented me on Rolly's appearance and I proudly regaled her with the details of his creation. I barely noticed when we got up to the customs officer and he gave me a stern, grouchy look. I handed him my passport as I'd been instructed to do, and had practiced with my mom. He frowned at me. "Kara Beth," he read my name from my passport, "no perishable items are to be allowed through customs." I blinked up at him. The flight attendant took me gently by the shoulders. "Honey," she said. "He means your little friend." 

I turned to face her. It wasn't sinking in. What did "perishable" mean? She tried again, reaching for Rolly. "He can't go with you," she said, "because he's food, and they don't allow food through customs." 

And this is what I mean when I say that I lost track of joy and began to be haunted by stress and fear and premature adult concerns. Looking back at that little girl, with her lonely little-kid heart grasping for friendship and understanding, I have to say I can hardly blame her for what came next. The moment I understood that Rolly was to be abandoned, a howl of unmitigated despair rose from my belly. And then, though I hadn't thrown an actual tantrum since toddlerhood, I sat down, curled myself around Rolly, and had a full-on meltdown. I'd hit the end of the proverbial rope, and there was nowhere left to go. Coincidentally, there was nothing much left of Rolly, either; I was throwing a riot over a few crumbs, an olive and a peanut. But really, deep inside, I was howling like a wolf pup whose pack has scattered, who has been roaming through the woods alone for god knows how long, and who desperately needs a familiar song sung back to her. It wasn't Rolly I was mourning; it was my place in the world, a place I'd never been quite sure of anyway, and which was now, I realized, crumbling out from under me. I would forever be stuck at customs, never knowing if I were coming or going, or who, if anyone, would be on the other end to greet me. 

Eventually I handed Rolly over, what was left of him, to the flight attendant. She picked me up and brushed me off. I don't know if she returned the glare of the customs agent as she ushered me through; I'd held up his line, but who cares? In the grand scheme of things it was only a few minutes in the pre-9/11 era. People stood around and smoked their cigarettes and watched impassively. My dad retrieved me, sodden and crumb-covered but right-side-up, and we spilled out the doors and out into London, where I would come down with the chicken pox that month and continue on with the bumps and scrapes of childhood.

It was a grey, listless summer. I hated London back then. I never told anyone about Rolly. 

Long Distance

Your voice on the phone is both sweet
and raw.
Without touching me you
press nerves and skin, you unspool
the tension in my belly.

How many miles above our mixed-up heads
is the satellite that brings us to one another?
You reach up to scratch your face
and I feel its roughness against my cheek.
I am the wind that runs cold fingers through
your hair.

But of course it only leaves me hungry:
this distance.
Outer space, the hum of the satellite cruising
through our atmosphere, the static
of comets barreling by on their way
out of the solar system.

I want your lips on my throat, your
hands at the small of my back
your arms gripping me tight as a seatbelt
so that when I crash from this great height
I might have a chance
of surviving the impact.