Beyond the moon, beyond planet blue
and planet red, each day further
from the sun she floats out toward

the empty dark of X. Having done
what she was sent out years before
to do, she gave up sending even

the faintest signals back to earth,
to bend instead her shattered wings
across her breast for warmth. It is

late, he knows, and knows it will only
go on getting later. He shifts alone
in the late November light before

her grave, as so often he has done
these past five years, to try
and finish what he knows to be

unfinished business and must remain
that way: this one-way dialogue
between the self, and--in her absence--

the mother in himself. Epilogue, perhaps,
to what one man might do to heal
the shaken ghost which must at last admit

just how many years ago she logged off
on her journey. So that now, as darkness
drops about him like some discarded coat,

old but useful, such as his mother used
to wear, he takes it to him, much as
she did, to ward against the cold.

by Paul Mariani

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