Outer Planet

Every part of the sky held at least one moon,
whose albedo translated the faint light of the spindle
to an afterimage of warmth. Our world was farther
from its star hearth than it had ever been.
We swam slowly over the glowing clouds,
swooping low to scoop into our mouths
the living dust of which they were formed.
In times of hunger, we dove deep below the wind
and prayed that our momentum would fling us back
into its swirling loft. After filling our bellies
we would all float quietly, basking in pale blue light.
We all dreamed the same dream.

The dust forms crystals, fractal growths
where it thickens along lattices in seven directions,
whose encoding says we were made the same way
in the beginning, that long ago the dust coalesced in one place
and knew what to do. It organized itself in complex structures
that in turn made irrevocable decisions
for the concatenated processes of our bodies,
the wonderful magic; life.

When lacy openings appear in our flesh, their frayed edges
vibrating to chant the wind’s kindness, we know
that soon our scions will leave us. They will tear away
along the humming perforations until the ragged scraps
of our selves disintegrate, undoing the making to diminishing
particles, to drifting dust. And we will become our children,
who soar through the gauzy maze
of clouds whose component motes
were once ourselves.

©2003 F.J. Bergmann

"Outer Planet" appeared in Mythic Delirium #17.

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