Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2018  Vol. 17 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Planet Nine

What could a person be looking for—breaking into a UPS Store five miles from home on a cold Sunday night—if not their demons? When the gold and silver run dry, mine for the underworld and what it took from us.

The urge to self-destruct: the echo back from the well, the refrain hung from the inner ear: perfection unattained, there's always something better, says the email headline, and you can have it. The bell cannot ring itself.

For every loss there is an equal and balancing gain, chant the day traders before their ritual. The oak tree: / not interested / in cherry blossoms, thinks Bashō.

The reassuring uniformity of car commercials. Nothing so unusual as death could occur in an Audi.

Nothing so unusual as death could be found on that planet with its heart frozen in place, visible from orbit.

The wheel-stops in parking spaces are headstones marking the loss of most sunlight hours. The symmetry of the afterlife mists up from the tar.

You should know who I am, says the purchasing decision. “You” could be anybody, which is what’s supposed to make America great. This is a lot of potential to carry in reusable bags; America is a lofty bulk that needs its many to heft it along.

You should know who I am, underscores every mass murder, every carefully planned moment of disruption, the “I” phallic and hazy but soon to be distinct, analyzed, coins weighed before being placed over the eyes.

You should know who I am, so I carefully prune my profiles. The universe splays out and offers its soft interior. The ukulele spoons its sour tune for the shy first date. I am planting this flag in a crater to welcome the first visitors.