ON BEING ALONE NEARBY
Baby says he wants to go to Mars. I don’t
know how much he means it. But his eyes
are Jupiter to a T, I thought the first time & ever
since I saw him, down to the bronze fleck & swirl.
I scratch Baby’s scalp, keep three fingernails
long to touch him better. On Mars his long hair
would weigh next to nothing, glint golder more than ever
next to sun. On Mars Baby would be a colonizer
of the dead. Not that word, he says. The unborn
the unlived. Baby picks up a house ant
on his long wood-loving finger, walks out
the door, returns it to humid grass, returns
to me, who he thinks didn’t see. I think I see Baby
air zip-up an invisible space suit from
his long toes to his ember hairs, see his eyes
unzip & salted spheres run from them
for an instant I don’t know how to touch. On Mars
seeds will grow under glass skies. They will speak
breathy & warm, full of veins, little mouths
the way plants always have
given birth to the breathfull rainfall patterns
that stitch them more thickly to earth.
On Mars their leaves’ spectral hunger will lean
ever more autumnal to bluish. They will smile wide
red in Mar’s undead Eden, in Baby’s Adam-hands
how my evening heart plunges against ribs
these ones, my only ones, how they’re bound
to someday seed dirt, cry out
for ghost & rain & thunderclap visitations
for some long gone maker
some baby spitting wet on Mars.
Brooke Larson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University, and is currently a PhD student in Poetry at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in The Offbeat, Gravel, The Swamp, Foothill Journal and Split Rock Review, and she was the 2017 runner-up for the Tennessee Williams Poetry Prize. She often runs away to teach primitive survival skills as a wilderness guide in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert.