The Space Traveler Talks Frankly about Desire

by Benjamin S. Grossberg

Out here the pull of bodies keeps
everything moving. Mass desires
mass, in even the tiniest of quantities.
But what differentiates us, this
sentience, is that it isn’t simply mass
that compels, but the idea of it:
the weighted notion, the notion
of waiting. A physics of our condition—
you might call it a strange force—
gives the dream of bodies more pull
than those orbiting close. It’s as if,
human, your Earth suddenly tore
itself from the Sun, flung itself
chest first into the void, for the idea
of another: a sun whose conversions
were more compelling. You know
all gold’s forged in a star’s heart?
Well, it’s as if your Earth lusted
for a sun that could generate better
luster. No matter the likelihood
of the planet spinning endlessly
forward—bowling ball (blue marbled)
gliding on a never-ending lane toward
no pins. No matter that the star—
if it existed—might crisp it to coal.
The idea must be satisfied. But
I was going to talk frankly about
desire, wasn’t I? Well, I desire
frankly: this dark is cold, and I
distinctly remember back there, still
pulsing, the place where I left my sun.

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