Before Bodies Cool

By Peter Grandbois

1.

Gravity is the way we fall
together.

2.

The center of mass somewhere
between

3.

Do you know where we’re going?
Round and round and round and

4.

My face next to your face next to my face
until

5.

There is no being alone.

6.

Except, we are alone.

7.

Hands with which to touch
matter accreting,

8.

Lips eclipsed.

9.

The sweep of your body across mine pulls my ribs from me

10.

The transit of mine across yours peels skin from bone.

11.

It’s difficult to know
which of us carries
the greater mass, which
exudes the greater
force.

12.

Once, I thought you were the black hole Cygnus X-1,
and I was Sirius.

13.

Now I’m not sure.
Each of us able to swallow
the other.

14.

And we spin, and we spin,
never taking the other in.

15.

This house
that is the axis
of our orbit.
This house
where there is
no room
through which
we can move
together.
This house
in which
we’ll never be
apart.
This house
that terrifies.
This house
that deifies
all we have been
to each other.

16.

The beauty of it, our friends say.
The joy of it, our families say.
The radiance of it, our neighbors say.

17.

It’s like there’s a string
tied to our ankle
the other end to a stick.
This life.

18.

“What do you want to do?”
“I don’t know.”
“And you?”

19.

If there is a darkness,
then something must shine from it.
Is that not so?

20.

If there is a night,
the sun is a scar in the sky.
Isn’t that right?

21.

This slow star weaving,
can’t be the journey.

22.

This mathematics
of love is not
the way home.

23.

Whatever we are looking for
scattered long ago.
Whatever we are looking for
never left this place,

24.

this region that is shaped
like a tear,
a tear
through which
we travel.

25.

And we spin, and we spin,
never taking the other in.

26.

If our stars stood still,
would the house tremble,
the bed shake?

27.

Would our children sing
of stinging silence
flitting from room
to room?

28.

These children like planets
that circle us,
keening through the kitchen,
blasting through the bath.

29.

These children we swallow
in our wild orbit.

30.

Maybe there’s no music
but static, the background
radiation of a distant
night

31.

And light sucked from one to the other.
And light ripped from me to you or you to me.
And light. Let’s not forget the light.

32.

“Don’t hang up on me.”
“Don’t yell at me.”
“Don’t tell me what to do.”
“Don’t patronize me.”

33.

There is no room to which we can move,
no place where we can still
this frenzy of moons.

34.

Sooner or later this violence will pull us apart,
this violence that binds us
together.

35.

From a distance, we look like one,

36.

that longed-for distance as tenuous
as dying light.

37.

Made of such dense matter
we have no choice.
The infinite static
sings through blood and bone

38.

It is better to live like stars
than stone.

Isn’t that right?

39.

And we spin, and we spin,
never letting the other in.

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Peter Grandbois

Peter Grandbois / About Author

Peter Grandbois is the author of seven previous books. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in over ninety journals. His plays have been performed in St. Louis, Columbus, Los Angeles, and New York. He is a senior editor at Boulevard magazine and teaches at Denison University in Ohio.

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