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Self-Portrait With Origin Myth & Orbit

— Megan Neville

Blame gravity: Jupiter has more pull on me
             than you, here, inhaling my exhale, so no wonder

I’m readily distracted. The moon tugs at the surface
             of water, coaxing waves to stay with her as she rolls

through her rounds. At birth a human is three-quarters
             water, & by adulthood she’s wrung out to slightly

more than half. At this point I’m more tree than fetus.
             You’re welcome, clouds. Out west a rock formation

pulses at the same rate as a human heart. It’s spared
             the complications, the senior year breakups &

Easter morning angioplasties. As a child I collected
             stones & gave them names. Kept them in

a dollhouse, cozied into Q-tip boxes
             with Kleenex blankets. I realize now that Annie

was raw jasper, Sparkle just a hunk of concrete. But I
             loved them more than any doll. God bless my family

for humoring this. One Christmas an uncle brought
             petrified wood from the desert near his house.

It stunned me to learn how a thing existing with
             me that second could be a fossil later on, but

in childhood timelines seem so finite & it hasn’t sunk in
             how our present will be some future’s past. He owned

a telescope & had pins in his leg from a motorcycle crash,
             took me outside to find constellations & hear how

space isn’t empty: it buzzes with energy crafting
             matter to make the universe push out & away

from itself. I squint at my skin & picture atoms,
             mid-spin, unaware of making me up.


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