Art by Joel

Lenses by Alexandra Cannon

Art by Joel
Art by Joel

You always had trouble seeing the universe.
A cruel thing, your vision, incompatible with desire
and denying you those newborn stars, the heart of
Andromeda. Truth be told, though, I’ve always been
a little frightened by telescopes.

I went to a funeral and knew this would be a good day
for poetry so in the fading light I watched reflections
of planes taking off in the gold-grey windows, sitting
out here, trying to think of the ice cliffs on Mars and
a wider perspective. A broader universe.

For years we’ve been expert in distances but who
can say how far it would have been for me to reach
across the table for your hand? How could I, in my
tendency toward vertigo and miscalculation, possibly
gauge whether or not you wanted me to?

The ice cliffs recede slowly from peaks into crevasse.
Is there not some kind of love in that knowledge, the
careful way we measure small details on a planet that isn’t
ours, where most of us will not go —stuck here in the past
as we are, at the loud and fiery advent of interplanetary travel?

You always had trouble facing what’s in front of you.
You’ve spent the better part of your life falling into things.
I may be a little frightened by telescopes, but I always look.
Here’s what else I learned: ice pieces on the near-vertical
martian cliffs sometimes slam into the plains below, and I do
not mind at all the silent and careful distance you have kept
between us.

About the Author


Alexandra Cannon holds a BA in English from Albertus Magnus College and an MA in
Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London. She resides in New
Haven, Connecticut, and is currently working on her first novel. An avid proponent of
children’s education, she works for a nonprofit children’s science museum.

About the Illustrator

You can find more of Joel’s art on Instagram.

Lenses is part of the weekly poem publications from the literary collection The Machinery. You can submit your poetry and fiction here.

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