by Natasha Oladokun
–Michigan, Associated Press January 17, 2018
Say we never met on any road at all. Say this rope I walk
isn’t at all looping itself before the tug. Say these nights
my last thoughts are not of the not-of-you. Say there’s no running,
away or in opposite directions. Say any of this is true.
Over Michigan, a meteor fell clean out of the sky,
frozen and burning like want, fast as my own stomach
at the thought of you, coming closer to me.
I am yet to learn the difference between pleasure and fear--
both streaks in the dark, the hard weight of space.
I don’t know how to tell you this. I don’t know how to say anything
to you now, praying always as I am for the end of this world
and not meaning a word of it.
You know there are much bigger asteroids
careening through our solar system, and scientists say they hope
they’ll spot them in time to evacuate us all, if a truly dangerous one
starts heading straight to earth? But so far, one isn’t coming.
So much for an apocalypse. So much for the truly dangerous.
In the absence of a gun big enough to shoot a foreign body
spinning out of orbit, I turn to flight, the only fight I’ve ever known.
A preacher asks me, Where will I be when our Savior returns?
and I want to ask, Do you know there are asteroids careening
through our solar system? And so far one isn’t coming?
O me of little faith in your return—you who caught me off-guard
with both my eyes open. I have spent my life in deflection,
building defenses against anything circling too close on its path.
For I’m yet to learn the difference between rapture and desire:
to be caught up, suspended between my body and some kind of heaven.
So please. Say all of this is a circle.
Say I too am standing at your door
to knock, listening for a lock-click on the other side, though so far
one isn’t coming. Say all of this is true. Say there’s no other way of falling.
Silent, through the black, bright and scattered everywhere.
Natasha Oladokun is a poet and essayist. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the American Poetry Review, Harvard Review Online, Pleiades, Kenyon Review Online, The Adroit Journal, The RS 500, and elsewhere. She is Associate Poetry Editor at story South, and is the inaugural First Wave Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.