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When she knew she couldn’t keep me, my mother struck a bargain with the ghost men haunting the sky. She fashioned a ship from our placenta—my fuel, her breast milk. The cost of this launch came from her ignorance, her worship of the bone-pale deities that called themselves, stars.

I achieved escape velocity. I saw the ghost men’s bones for what they were: burned-up hulls. I begged to return. They said you orbit the gravitational field of a far greater ideal. God Bless.

But I couldn’t live these dreams. I go on, circling this planet I can never touch.

Maria S. Picone has been published in Ice Floe Press, Bending Genres, and Whale Road Review. She won Cream City Review’s 2020 Summer Poetry Prize. A Korean adoptee, HUES Scholar, and Watering Hole Fellow, Maria’s work often explores themes of identity and social justice. Her website is, Twitter @mspicone.

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