The circular motion of an object
in orbit knows no beginnings
except for release. An absence
of starting points. A want. Its speed
governed by the lilt of the universe's
breathing. To be suspended in space,
buoyant, unflinching, does not
always mean stillness. Thirteen years,
a satellite staggered around Saturn
in endless loop—there are no finish
lines to cross here, just constant
running away. Let me tell you about
migratory birds: albatross, shorebird,
the common swift, how they travel
for months on end over violent
saltwater without ever stopping.
Let me tell you how they do this
in search of land, somewhere warm
to nestle their worn out bones in—
tilt sideways and home in on dry soil
What is built to last will last until
it doesn't. We mourn Cassini's
descent and call it death out of
a need to mourn: lament its collision.
Its amble gold. Refute claims
of its aloneness—the dark, solitary
silence it fumbled in. Drown out
the song of its weary whimpers,
a restless animal in pursuit of sleep.
And what is grief if not noise?
By Alfonso ManalastasQLRS Vol. 19 No. 2 Apr 2020