Edward Willett

Poetry month poetry: I Tumble Through the Diamond Dust

For the month of April, Saskatchewan Writers Guild members are receiving two pairs of lines from Saskatchewan poems every weekday. Gerry Hill, the current Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan, is inviting people to write poems of response and email them to him; in November, there’ll be some kind of big poetry reading event. I’ve decided to try to take each pair of poems and craft, not just a poem, but a science fiction/fantasy/horror poem. I don’t think of myself as a poet, but I’m hoping that, like the dog who knows how to sing, the wonder will be simply that it’s done at all, and perhaps not so much how well it’s done (although I have hope it won’t be entirely without poetic merit).

All the other poems: Virtuality; This is the Way the World Ends; The Last Thing Your Lips Touched; Facing the Silence; The Telling; Saint Billy; I Remember His Eyes; His Body Knows; Emily Alison Atkinson Finds God; I Will Ride Off the Horizon; There’s Nothing Artificial About Love; He Really Should Have Written; Saving My Brother’s Life; Dammit, I’m a Doctor, Not an EntreeSlime is Thicker than Blood; The Maharajah of Mossbank; The Gathering of Stones; The Only Child; The Labyrinth of RegretThe Tale of Old Bill from the Ship Cactus Hills.

The April 1 “first lines” were:

Stuck in the middle
of open space somewhere
-William Robertson, “Father” from Standing on My Own Two Feet

I got bit.
By what?
– Louise Halfe, “Valentine Dialogue” from Bear Bones and Feathers

My poem:

I Tumble Through the Diamond Dust

By Edward Willett

Stuck in the middle
of open space somewhere,
the Earth below my head,
the moon above my feet,
I tumble through the diamond dust
of light that fled from ancient suns
when life on Earth had just begun
to seethe and crawl and mate and die,
millennia of millennia
before a primate climbed a tree
and reached to touch the stars.

The moon below my head,
the Earth above my feet,
I tumble through the diamond dust
of my own frozen air,
future days I’ll never see
now marked by tombstones made of ice,
a glittering crystal snowflake wake
for my last lonely flight.

I tumble through the diamond dust
of ancient light and frozen air
while Hertz’s waves hiss empty in my ears,
as barren of voices and of hope
as of malice, the universe
uncaring, unconcerned, and unaware.

My heart beats slowly in my ears,
my final countdown, nearing zero.

We train for every risk, they say,
imagining the next thing
that could turn and bite us

a micrometeorite
a loose connection
a bad seal

I got bit.
By what?
I’ll never know.

Thump.
Thump.

Thump.

Launch.

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