July 2, 2013

Benjamin S. Grossberg

THE SPACE TRAVELER’S MOON

Tucked behind an obscure gas giant,
tiny, shaped like a kidney bean—
but I had it registered as mine
for a small fee and now have
a certificate to hang in the ship
and a place to visit on holidays
and for picnics. The sky’s dominated
by a ringless planet rarified enough
to float in a bathtub (a large one)—
and planetrise is watching
the curtain lift at a Grand Opera:
orchestral swell; swirls and storms
near enough to touch, as if a finger
dipped in its surface might ripple out
progressively larger circles. Certainly
there’s no air or vegetation, and very
little gravity. No place is perfect.
I dream (what kind of space traveler
wouldn’t?) of planting organic
ground cover, having contractors
put in an atmosphere, and a nice
surface liquid. Perhaps one day,
a species. At some point the notion
of making overtakes the notion
of finding. Just because there was
a planet inhabited by creatures
like me, where I saw silhouettes
in the rockface and even weeds
had a pleasant familiarity, doesn’t
mean there is.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012
Tribute to Speculative Poetry

[download audio]

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Benjamin S. Grossberg: “I think I started writing because it seemed my brothers had taken the other arts (painting, music, etc), and only poetry was left for me. But it could also be something in the genes. One of my grandfathers was a jeweler, the other a Rabbi. Maybe a poet is what you get when you cross a jeweler and a Rabbi.” (website)