Christopher Grillo


The Effect of Spaceflight on the Human Body

We do not orbit but free float;
letting go of what binds us to ourselves.

We touch worlds where language fails
and form loses permanence;

where we hike or eat Thai food despite
our former assertions that tamarind powder

and palm sugar mask incidental
flavor and that hiking, which is neither

a relaxed or strenuous physical state,
is confusing. For thousands of hours,

we drift. We span light years, but how long,
and how far, are less pressing questions

then why. We know the answer. It is as obvious
to us as breath, and fills us the same way,

but it is measurable only in simile: we fought
like braves, we made love like strangers,

and so it demands we reimagine distance and time
with wild, limitless depth. We sink willingly.

and too fast. We are pressed until we break
and customize like warm forged steel that seeps

through its contour and is left to cool as polytopes
when black smiths are busy kissing.

We pray we will be left blunted, not sleek,
and that this will slow us when we fall,

because we will fall, or gravitate back towards,
or reenter, which are all the same thing,

and only mistaken to be dissimilar
by cataloguers who lie, and the drag

coefficient, which is a lie. Let there be no mistake:
no matter how fast, we will plummet.

No matter how hot, we will burn,
No matter how hard, we will crash,

and the finite world we once swore could never
be swallowed whole, will leave us wanting.


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