TRAPPIST-1 

dip your jar into the river to set forth spring 

1

 

In the pre-dawn hours, away from the city lights, 

hint of blue. Ovid has Orpheus sing the tale…

 

Someone has to live these minutes. A lone tree 

emerges from the desert as the real projective 

plane bisects itself—to speak this ocean 

to the dark: at the intersection of unlocatable thefts 

we are on the outskirts, trying to keep distance 

from unraveling into X. That interim—

 

interminable, where the longest days go by 

so quickly, until the northernmost road 

or some punctuation scrambles the depths. 

In a strange and faraway land are rope bridges we 

could drive a car over. The valley bottom cooks 

poppies and ringed plovers. Along the invisible 

road, the fence that holds the two red horses, 

back to neck. Future dust decants the cliff’s edge, 

exchanging ocean for granite. 

This is dumb luck on a grand scale, the could-be- 

real appearing inch by inch. Alone I note

 

its sums in the transmit transmit cosmic ledger. 

The sun strikes out from the highest point, meaning it. 

how full of awe is this place 

but case-by-case is a criminal language 

These midsummer diaries of glory 

and abandon cobalt-60 their curatives,

 

painting color to touch the apparent radiant 

protesting because because or it was the weather

 

that made me thirst. Take all that matters and 

let it mean nothing. Some linear accelerator

 

to reach a river or hope of Mars—

 

 

A space opens for the space that gets in, 

whatever distances from bright to shade, 

or what the sky does: high, low. At the 

dry stream bed, a woman sits reading

 

the effects of gamma rays on man-in-the-moon marigolds 

Summershine dislodges electrons from atoms, 

their collinear armies weeping fugitive spring

 

stars. In a sequence of possible outcomes, we wake 

underwater, or wake in dust, or the crossroads split

 

to reveal the mass and ephemera of existence. 

Gas and dust—they call this accretion.

 

 

5 

The elevated vista is gone. We’re flowing 

through the dead zone, trusting the

 

bendy sinister and the long cataract— 

sensing this outlier existence as

 

sweepstake’s winning ticket to feel 

to be free what we once knew as radio

 

ad-lib, alive with the weightiest ease

 

 

6 

Hint of blue, so the gold lyre sings: 

a love poem on the verge of collapse 

The ancient linacs bet with 

sacrifice, as it is tonight,

 

widening back with the spectral 

and double. Our flood finds

 

errant conjuncts in the subatomic 

and stargone. By radical velocity

 

we’ve come to lighter dimensions, 

having forgotten the first

 

outpouring. That silence keeps near 

orbit, from coordinate to coordinate,

 

even in the dark.

 

 

7

 

Midnight reckons the civil day 

indigo as the color of love,

 

a Chiron intelligence seeking cloaked 

vectors from transit to transit,

 

who rose at the edge of Neptune 

to declare that past has vanished

 

or new hostages. Fallen from, we return 

to the blank. I can’t help but pine

 

your shape in the veiled beyond. 

FIELD STRENGTH

 

 

epsilon, epsilon—I’m searching you back 

some rogue constant 

                             having entered interrupts clearest 

                                                                                         vision the lights honey 

                             an unknown to come 

listen, he said, it’s fun it’s 

                              pricked skin in a gulf wind while 

                 naught gets recycled or 

                                                            if I’m honest, turn 

                my attention away from the sea 

for a time—there’s nothing 

                                                                           to drink and I’m drowning

 

 

                no game, just living and dying 

not night but a quieting 

                                             along the z-axis 

                                                                          forms in the to-be lottery 

                                                            await the statistical broadcast 

on the x-path, dracaena limes 

                                                            a tuber day 

green as the color of hope 

in green ocean 

               he asked are you a curious person—the unpredictable dive 

                                                              suggests there’s space 

for you, subterfuge, 

              halfway between mirror and diamond 

*

 

I gave thanks to the emptiness: offered an open head 

                                                          from which to pluck the gedankenexperiment 

             until formland falls into place, I pace— 

                                                                                       masquerade need 

as wish 

             and answered we fell in 

*

 

             with our best projections. Lost 

                                                                       our minds in the west— 

convenient precipice

 

at one terminus: 

                              a message sent 

                                                         velveteen melancholy 

              transformed into lossy medium 

                                                                         permitted no relative response—desire, 

                            that air event, couriers 

the heart’s farads 

E.G. Cunningham is the author of a full-length collection of poetry, Ex Domestica (2017), and a chapbook, Apologetics (2016). Her poetry and prose have appeared in Barrow StreetColorado ReviewFugueHobartThe NationThe Poetry ReviewPuerto del Sol, and The Volta. She teaches at the University of California, Merced. 

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