We start with him asking questions about my hair. How it
manages to move without thinking; I tell him magic, ask
him about having gnarled knuckles & a name that everyone
can recognize. He replies in simple yesnos; I sigh
in ways he doesn’t recognize. I wonder if he views
his anger as himself. Though we live in lightyears worth of orbit,
my diaphragm has never been so tense. His neck is long
& leaping in the direction of a crick; I say hey & he clinches,
mostly in resistance. He wonders if difference in the tightness of skin
equips a human with landing on a spaceship floor—I sit & he
floats, trembling. We both have a hard time saying how we feel.
We both hatewatch salisbury coating the axis of a planet
that we no longer see. I want to feel anger if it means landing
soon. He wants to live in relative obscurity if it means never
being this vulnerable again. Are you happy with your job?
I ask. Are you happy, ever? he whispers as sadness
withers the room like gravity.
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