/rebecca martin

The Cassini spacecraft, originally scheduled for a mission of four years, orbited Saturn for thirteen before crashing,

but what sort of machine wastes time
like I do when I waited for months
to make sure I would not repeat
mistakes that stood no chance
of replicating themselves—this is to say
I fall in love when I turn my palms
away from my body. on the night
you show me your new apartment
I make a mental inventory of
all the spacecraft I can list
that have met an end in the past
five years. Deliberate crash landings
on extraterrestrial bodies—
and yes, most unmanned spacecrafts meet death
at the hands of a body that meant most to them,
and you and I discussed Laika
and her doomed voyage over a year ago, which is to say
I fall in love with small monuments like your
hands on the doorframe in June like the crash sites
that blossom across the face of the moon
that night in your new apartment
the moon was waxing crescent
and I studied the freckles on your arms—a flight path.
after 13 years, the space probe Cassini
de-orbited and caught fire in Saturn’s atmosphere.
this marked the end of its mission,
but the hard work had only begun—
data it picked up before it crashed
still beckoned for the hand of analysis
which is to say, with my palms turned out,
that night in the doorway of your apartment
was no cycle of the moon, repetition
of mistakes, or crash landing.

Rebecca Martin is a poet whose work has appeared in Original Magazine, Spill: A Queer Arts Magazine, Pretty Owl Poetry, and Everything in Aspic. She is interested creating poetry that centers queer womanhood through the personal and political, simultaneously in conversation with and troubled by the parameters of history. Rebecca has read her work in 2018 at City of Asylum and at the University of Pittsburgh’s Artist-in-Residency program through the Astronomy & Physics Department, and in 2019 at White Whale Bookstore, Bantha Tea Bar, and City of Asylum.