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Wyvern Lit
Photo May 23, 21 24 52.jpg

Six Space Poems

Poetry by Aly Pierce


( t = a* i + b * s )

A child pokes a pin

through a cardboard box, drapes

the opposite panel in white.

She is preparing.


In the days before my sister died,

she laid drugged, intubated

stuck somewhere behind watery

blue eyes. But we knew

she was there.


The doctors shined

a light into her, watched her pupils

pin. We exhaled.


The safest way to view

an eclipse is through a tiny hole.

At the right second, an image

projects and we are saved

from direct sunlight.


I was in Massachusetts again,

sleeping. My brother called, said

she was bleeding in her brain.


Overnight, which cell let go first?

At what exact moment did

the eclipse begin?





all the most powerful planets have rings

i’ve felt inexplicably further from stardust

and i realize that this isn’t how orbits work

but there is evidence that galaxies can combine

gravitational forces to sling shot black holes

through the universe like god is vacuuming



three times the mass of your uncle’s suicide

and the answer is in kilometers somewhere on 1-95

with your father driving, bursting comets like popcorn


my sister doesn’t live on this planet

black holes aren’t just some cosmic curiosity

we’ve all participated in them, probed the edge

of something more massive than us

ears pressed to the dome of night, begging

maybe casseopia can help me quit smoking


i should probably start viewing my lover

as the 90% dark matter that he is

i should probably start accepting myself

as the 90% dark matter that i am


both unknowable to ourselves






but the planets know that somewhere

closer to the edge there is an open mouth

drooling stardust in phosphorescent dollops

from gravitationally detectable teeth


what if we all understood

our rotation: a carnival ride on roller skates

whirling down an unknowable drain


carl sagan said we are

a way for the cosmos to know itself

i think i am evidence




the scientist triangulating the weight

of a system of stars

has extra


my sister at twenty-three gulps

radio-active solution

has extra


me raising the cigarette

to my mouth




i’ve seen bodies revert to hydrogen

marched away slowly over years

as if by galactic ants hanging

a constellation of loss


i’ve surrendered as a part of the organ

everything rends itself inside

the bulging stomach of the universe





( N = R x fx Nx fx fx fx fc x L )

my boyfriend and i go out for tacos

to celebrate our first full revolution

around the sun together


it is a big deal for both of us loners

we’ve been leading silent civilizations

inside our bodies for years

not used to contact, starting

to doubt


on the back of a napkin, i write him

the Drake Equation, explain


R is all the new born, wailing stars

having their first blazing burps

expressed as a ratio in solar masses per year


f stands for the fraction of stars

pirouetting hands out, palms

full of planets


Np is the average number of planets

per star


fe slashes the number again by

the planets that develop life, I wink

at my boyfriend to convey the beginning

of the guesstimates


fl divides these meager lives

by those we consider Intelligent,

fc provides the final axe, the fraction

of these civilizations that produce technology


finally! as if we are not yet improbable

enough, the last multiplier L, the lifetime

of a civilization in years


because two intelligent civilizations

capable of communication

is a waste if one burns out

just as the other invents the radio





the universe is 90% dark matter

astronomers think it causes flow

slides the car into the embankment

pushes the plunger in the needle

makes the cells spread like fire


they say, we didn’t think

it would be like this




i sit on the porch with my mother

after my sister’s memorial service

it’s winding down, friends, most family

have left. my mother lights a cigarette.


she says, “this is it. i quit for three years

and i have to do it again.”


i say, “me too” and light my own.





geologically, the moon is dead.


i guess i’ve never really expected

the moon to be alive, but it still comes

as a shock to hear it’s dead.


this sucks. the moon’s dead but

i can still fucking see her, hung in the sky.

i used to think she smiled at me sometimes,

but now it looks like this haunted grin.

i used to paint my face & take to the fields

every twenty-eight days but now what?

i can honor her ghost every month?


i’d rather someone just pull the cord

& shut her out than all of us

stand here, mouths open, watching

her serene body floating through a still pool.