Friday, 22 July 2011


In the room adjacent you are undressing
and I imagine the wall between us is more
transparent than my heart. I trace the

shadow that marks the differences between
us (postpone for a moment the need to determine
who is light and who is darkness--both states are

preferable to the nothing in between). In this house
I wonder at the walls, how they could have been
built so much thinner than my own. At night,

deep at night, I lay awake imagining I am
on the roof mystified by starlight, lost in the
lack of self, the dark matter and the dark

energy, the dark at all, where I become the
shadow. This starlight itself is our distant past,
the place where we began. I am helpless against

the onslaught of memories. Between you and
between I there was the catalyst of love, the
spark that traveled one hundred thousand

light years to become us today. We were astronauts
training for space travel, hitching a ride on a
shuttle bound to skim Earth’s fragile atmosphere.

We catapulted fiercely upward in the poignant
attempt to grasp those altitudes previously
imagined only by poets and smitten nerds;

the moon, the stars, Jupiter's satellites, mere space.
We methodically composed a future without end
and now, stalled on this eternal landing strip, are left

embarrassingly unprepared for the inevitable
anticlimax. After all of it... after the one step, the giant
leap, the missions and the thrust, after the spectacular

and the tragic, after the epiphanies of hearts left
momentarily unbound by gravity of thought or
promise or debt, after we soared beyond all

expectations, we confront the persistent disability
that we are tethered here, after all, by our most
mundane realities. There is no app for reinvention.

© Martin A Bartels

The Shuttle Ends Its Final Voyage and an Era in Space
Martin is a poet, author, artist, and songwriter living in the Washington DC area. He is currently president & CEO of the humanitarian organization, Seed Programs International. His poetry can be found HERE.