“To My Love at Lagrange Point Five” by Kaye Boesme
“You lead, I follow?” I said that morning
while you smiled that fresh-scholar smile and laughed.
We waited in line at the shrine where Sa
stands, skin black like dripping ink, flanked by books.
You reached to cup the god’s hands; Sa blessed you.
You used your stylus fingers to write out
my name on the white fabric of my sleeve.
I thought, This woman who smiles at me must
surely be Sa in human form here now.
Later, when those consecrated hands touched
the curve of my back, you gasped Kasedji
words I couldn’t unravel while our sweat
slickened our touching bodies. You found air
and said, “I love you.” I said we’d just met.
“You lead, I follow,” echoed down long halls
leading to rooms where we sucked sacred ink
up into our fountain pens and wrote out
equations for orbital dynamics.
It’s what I said when the professor rushed
our class; my smears made them unreadable.
I followed you out, cried, and you helped me.
In our dining halls behind you, I took
our portions of meat and carried the tray.
We ate beneath grove-trees dripping green fruit
and imagined me, the geologist,
exploring new worlds while you mapped their skies
and designed homes for alien seasons.
When Atara and Mntaka happened,
I was so sure they’d take you and not me
because you always had the highest marks
and the fastest tongue among our cohort.
“You lead, I follow!” I tore down the hall
just after I read the summons sent by
our Scientific Lead and saw we both
would become explorers in the High Wilds.
The possibilities were dizzying.
The untamed stars shone in their nebula
robes while our AI calculated routes.
It smeared no ink on its algorithms.
The rip point opened. There was that moment
on Atara when I went outside first
and gaped—we’d touched down in a blooming field.
I ran through it while you praised our great gods
because the air was good for human lungs.
It was South Pole Summer, humid and cool.
Neither of us had seen flowers colored
in mimicry of star-hiding day-sky.
On this world, your crew stayed to build City One.
We went to Mntaka, the first of three
worlds—us, then the Great Giant, at last you.
In this south equatorial springtime,
snow falls while ashfall blows to the far north.
We looked at satellite readouts for days,
all wondering if we could settle here.
We might as well; we’re so far from our home.
Your first inkless letter came through hours
after we set up the new comm beacon.
We have two Lagrangian worlds to roam.
Still, my heart pounds because I never see
your footfall on these endless black beaches
or your handprints on the delicate moss
etching the shallow cave walls on our shore.
I feel that I follow you even here
when I read your schematic messages
and see the plans for Atara’s first town.
Our tents still collapse in the coastal winds.
You lead. My love, I follow looking back.
|Kaye Boesme is a librarian who juggles writing, podcasting, and constructed language creation on the side. Her poetry has previously appeared in Eternal Haunted Summer and several other online publications. She tweets at @KayeBoesme, and her portfolio of work is available at kayeboesme.com.|