A Lover’s Manuals: [Space Edition]

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Poetry
Part 1: A Lover's Manual to Building a Rocket

[But why a rocket, of all things?]

Instructions (Assembly)

i. Direction of Motion
Fall in love with the stars,
a little bit too much.

ii. Fuel : Engine
Spread your arms—not from the crook of your elbows, but from the arc of your shoulders.
The asteroids that fall, fat and supple, into the knots of those limbs will each fill
three thousand and ten more engines
with stardust and gratitude.

iii. Nosepiece : Body : Fins
Do not be discouraged by the humpback's slumber. Inquire politely about its availability,
Best as you can past the oxygen mask and traitorous flippers.
A current nearly rips you from its haunt so it swallows you gently,
An echo in its shapely head.
—But, dear whale. You're barnacles! How they mirror the constellations above!

When it blushes a deep indigo and finally concedes,
Relish the betrayal in its yawning humpback eyes
As you slit it down its ventral grooves
And watch the waves bleed its organs into the blue.

iv. Center of Gravity : Payload : Combustion Chamber
Adhere the bits
with sticky regret,
Humpback parts and
Every-action-love-letters and equal-opposite-reaction-patiences
—--His aerodynamic smiles
and stages, Units of devotion.

v. Parachute? - [ERROR] : Recovery System? - [ERROR]

Part 2: A Lover's Guide to Time Travel

[Time Travel? In a rocket?]

Instructions (A Space Odyssey)

i. Liftoff
toes on the blowhole, arms bent, and


ii. Jettison
Peel away swathes of tissue paper,
Of spools of light, of
Soapberries & aluminum, of

skittish minds and frisky hearts
Seat yourself upright in humpback flank
Shed pieces of yourself, thaw
A brow : a limb : half a hip : Icarus

Child of aging stars!
——a piece is only a vessel when lost to the clouds

iii. Cutoff
Frothing eddies of starlit seas
No matter the wreckage,
No matter the wreckage:

In sunken lees.

iv. Apogee
"So... you know how we're able to see // like remnants of dying stars or supernovas and stuff? It would be the same thing // Light years away from earth, we'd be able to view earth in the past theoretically // if the distance checked out."

v. Orbit.
Turn hornets into honeybees
and lift the skin, leather
to dribble starlight into humpback eyes
as it furls into a ring

[ gravity ]

it takes a long, winded breath
as he stretches his body
ah, wretched.