After returning from blackness so intense it was a texture, Yi So-yeon, Korea’s first astronaut, said, “I can’t live the rest of my life talking about what I did in space for eleven days.” In the diner, surrounded by TV’s in mirrors, listening to him, I eat my fry which, the physicists say, is made of stars and dip my star-fry into the ketchup which, the physicists say, is made of stars, and which I poured from the slender red plastic bottle which, the physicists say, is also made of stars. And I am stars, and so is Yi So-yeo, and the woman in the booth behind me who is talking about her desire to kiss the mouth of her dead brother, star-desire; she is stars too. I think of Yi So-yeon and what it means to get so far from earth that the earth becomes a marble, so distant that there is no snow or race or wet circles left on cocktail napkins, so very deep into space that you can no longer see that which you wanted to look back on. I order a star-milkshake and watch the waitress shake the stars from her dark, pretty hair. How foolish I had been to think that those eleven days of floating in your atmosphere could ever compare to this lifetime of earthly things. Tonight, even the stem of this cherry has more weight than you.
Nicole Callihan's books include SuperLoop (2014), as well as, the chapbooks: A Study in Spring (2015), The Deeply Flawed Human (2016), and Downtown (2017). Find her on the web at www.nicolecallihan.com.