RUNNING AWAY FROM OURSELVES
You and I direct our search for a destination that breaks us free from our confinement,
a celestial wanderer that is comme il faut to make our own.
In this place, you and I make our home à la une; are enjoined to cry out, summon attention
to chemical combinations that give light, heat and smoke;
to lie very still, like a corpse, in hopes our assailant will lose interest and depart.
During all the countings of the turnings of the hours, without exception, stargazers
are labelling another extrasolar wanderer with informative words used to indicate
disposition, words not unlike “genial” and “clement”.
The electromagnetic spectrum visible between wavelengths of this to that
nanometres guzzles itself –
in the dimensions in which all things exist and move
and directly beneath a structure carrying a path over an obstacle;
in a natural stream flowing in a channel, making a long, loud, doleful cry;
in a container made of flexible material; directly beneath the long planks of a wooden floor
in her suite of rooms, forming one residence in a building of similar suites;
in an area of open land;
in that state of combustion manifesting light, flame, etc.;
in an enclosed space; in back of a vehicle powered by an internal burning;
in a damp, disagreeable, cold and musty part of a building;
in the second-largest French-speaking city in the world (if you don’t count Kinshasa).
You, I and all the others direct our gaze up into an atmosphere
which appears decorated with small dots, where in some other place
seven wanderers similar to our vagabond home whirl noiselessly in curved paths
around a faraway, lowly and low-luminosity incandescent
similar to the sun – one abandoned at a church door by its mama,
too poor to look after it
They break up and move earth, scoop out the bed of the water course,
exert force on our structures of bone and flesh, causing us to move
toward them from far beneath the waters and places of hasty burial.
Cistercian namesake and her spheres uncovered in diffused suspensions of heavy
liquid metal – seven places of permanent residence to welcome us.
An arrangement of lenses and mirrors collects light from a distance,
across the near vacuum extending between planets and stars. Images of cosmic
phenomena magnified and focused on iodine-sensitized silver plate show the isolated places for you, for me (barred from our native countries) like land surrounded by water.
The ones adept in making observations of celestial marvels bring back word
that they might provide the necessities to sustain life even as our spirits manifest
at our dwelling places in the manner of errant animal companions, in a large
human settlement where such like may very well happen.
Your and my mental picture is of you n’ me moving forward on hands and knees
dragging ourselves out the opening in the wall to move rhythmically
in the luminescence of seven satellites.
You and I will run away on the feathered surfaces, winged and warm-blooded; on a fine
powder of grain containing male gametes; on waves of compression
and rarefaction; and dust from a long-haired star.
You and I won’t look directly into one another’s eyes. You and I will move
in a circular direction and advance at speed
(never having both feet on the ground at the same time),
perform breathing while using the name of the Great River to number
the brief intervals moving downward without control into the fastening of fractions
of an hour, for indefinite continued progress of existence and events
put down gently and carefully set in position for you and me
in units of astronomical distance, and three times that besides.
For the amount of space from here that we remove ourselves from danger.
Morris Bailey is a Montreal poet born in Derby, UK. His poem, “I Imagine My Brother As An Island,” is forthcoming in Columba: New poems Online. He was longlisted for the 2019 Vallum Award for Poetry.