The First and the Only
Of the first twenty-one people shot into space,
nineteen were only children, sole heirs to their name.
The other two were first-born. If love is undiluted
does it push you further? Does solitude become
a welcome weight out there in the weightlessness?
The bottoming-out of free fall must have been nothing
compared to making friends on the first day of school,
post-solo imagination, after the long hours spent reading
and hopscotch played by one. Clothes that were yours
forever. The night your parents decided you were too old
to sleep between them and you woke up past midnight
in your own room swimming in panic from the nightmare,
far away in the dark, how can that porthole of not-light
conquer you now? Ours is the estate and the bloodline,
to us the pioneers belong the expanse, the large nights,
the emptiness between parent and child that we
on opposite ends with wonder and sadness look back
at each other across, you are far away but not even air
keeps us apart, to us the first and the only belong
the first step into nothing, we strap on the suits
tailored to our singular bodies, we breathe oxygen
shared by nobody on earth or elsewhere, the great
door yawns open and one by one but alone, we begin.