Skip to content →

All Palaces are Temporary Palaces

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.

from If This Is the Age We End DiscoveryFind more by Rosebud Ben-Oni at the library

Copyright © 2021 Rosebud Ben-Oni
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Poems Rosebud Ben-Oni

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.