My niece calls with questions of asteroid mining.
At six she’s worried & can’t tell me why.
So we talk it out. I hear there is gold, silver, platinum
On spent comets. Who would say I do on a stony
Asteroid? People are already getting married underwater,
The very rich driving cars on coral reefs.
& if the newest frontiers require technology
Smaller than an atom, well, now there’s the pentaquark
Which is almost all quark save for one
Antiquark, & if not for the anti-
Quark, would anything, any-
Thing at all, be? What’s next is never
Enough. All left to chance shrinking. My dear, dear girl
Calling on this overcast day in the spring, where sky is one long cover
Of impassivity. Why are we here? She’s asking for the first time,
& I hear the anxiety of one who’s stumbled upon a burning
Temple in the fields. We listen to each other
Breathe. I miss my train, linger on a winding staircase
In Woodside, Queens. I remember the day I discovered
This small stretch of exposed track subverting the sky & knew
I’d come home. One more day, & I will tell her this.
One more day for life on asteroids without fences or fracking,
& dreams know no deep inelastic scattering. Let it be
Where silence is never summoned, where rays
Collide in charm & strange.
Copyright © 2021 Rosebud Ben-Oni
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.