July 2011, Kennedy Space Center
Our final craft arises from one blue
and sinks into another we call true.
Deep calls unto deep, the Psalmist states,
suggesting that our blood is like the straits
we nod beside when sounding out our souls
from here, the edge of space, these restless shoals
where ships have launched toward the blackest sea,
where mothers, husbands, wives upon this lea
have watched the ones they love let go of Earth,
trajected into something too like birth,
that airless ocean where we once accreted
from waves of dust and absence, superheated,
molded, brought to being out of flood,
like Love herself from salt and foam and blood.
We’ve shuttled past this garden, spent our spoor
outward, always outward, always more
to fight that feeling that we may be less,
to find a balm for Gilead’s unrest.
We do not want to be here in the dark,
alone, without the hope of other ark.
We sow the upper air with lenses, mirrors,
reflecting on our existential terrors.
No, this is not the first, the last Atlantis.
We stand upon the strand like Marinatos
who stumbled on the ruins of that city.
Plato wrote about it, wrote with pity.
He also wrote of love, its rift, its scars,
of all we seek when we seek out the stars.
Bryan D. Dietrich is the author of six books of poems and co-editor of a recent poetry anthology. He has published poems in The New Yorker, The Nation, Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Paris Review, Harvard Review, Yale Review, and many other journals. He has won The Paris Review Prize, a “Discovery”/The Nation Award, a Writers at Work Fellowship, and others.