Cosmic Micros 2020
My ancestors were star smugglers. Becoming a mule was their only way out of the darkness.
They would hide the stars in their bellies and wear thick clothes to conceal their glowing midriffs.
Every night, I thank them. For the sacrifice they made. For what they left for us in our sky.
I added lunar dust to my cake mixture.
In the oven, a Moon baked.
As it rose, my cooking utensils floated around the house and a tide rose through the sink.
When you got home, I took you by the hand, and we slow-danced against the kitchen ceiling.
“Happy birthday,” I said.
A cosmic storm hit last night.
Now, we find a mound of stardust shimmering on the side of the road.
I dab it with my pinkie and put it in my mouth.
“How does it taste?” you say.
Before I can answer, I dissolve into the sky and become the reflection on your face.
When I was a child, I thought the stars were just light bulbs in the sky.
I thought they could rain down on us, and we would need to take shelter as they popped on rooftops.
Then I learned the truth: that I’d never be able to touch them, or dance in the falling light, or make star angels in the shards come the aftermath.
It hurt me like hot glass.
Emptier and Emptier
You told me you’d been feeling emptier and emptier since you returned from space. Then I held your hand, and your skin crumpled. I rested my head on your chest, and it sank right in. We went for a walk the next day, and you blew away like a balloon, disappearing into the sky forever.
I made you a blanket that doubled up as the night sky. Gave you strict instructions never machine-wash it.
My first night away from you, it rained soap. The horizon spun and dripped. The Moon and stars jangled up there like loose coins.
That was when I learned you were a disobedient child.
You called me from space and told me to transfer all our savings to an account in a different galaxy.
“They sell stars here,” you said. “I’ll buy us a constellation.”
After I did it, I never heard from you again.
I don’t care about the money.
I do hate how the night sky we used gaze into together so lovingly, now makes me feel like a fool.
You told me there are so many stars out there, you could assign a word to each one, and you would run out of words before you run out of stars.
I did it. I assigned a different word to every star I could. Exhausted the lexicon of several different languages.
I ran out of words just before you died.
Now when I look at the sky, I use the constellations to make poems.
My way of staying in touch.
I reached a church at the end of the universe.
There, I met another astronaut. It was me, from five minutes in the future.
Five minutes later, another me arrived.
Soon, there was a congregation of us, waiting patiently for answers.
Still, we multiply. Still, we wait.
Neil Clark is a writer from Edinburgh. His debut collection, ‘Time. Wow’ will be released by Back Patio Press in October 2020. Find him on Twitter @NeilRClark or visit neilclarkwrites.wordpress.com for a full list of publications.
Submit Your Stories
Always free. Always open. Professional rates.