Punctures of Light in the Darkness
A traveler finds herself stranded on a distant planet, alone.
heaven falls on the far side of this field, lit by flames too far and hot to touch. my footsteps fall heavy, breaking new grass, blue-tipped, earth bent, scurries of little creatures screaming the names of their home. this planet was not meant for me. tilted axis swinging too quickly, moons bent toward destruction, sun too red to last. I am meant to float in darkness, to punctuate the mystery with numbers of fleeing embers, pit stops at dwindling galaxies, bareboned and so often empty. by the register, a note, sometimes, stardust-coated words explaining evacuation. radiation. the way the space between Everything only grows, just as it shrinks. the last face I saw tucked into the pocket of my suit, Your broken smile slowly fading from the glow of the universe. I tell myself this too, that it will not be so bad to die alone, a strange air sucking itself into my lungs. when I reach the end, I am not yet convinced, landscape barren, emptiness stretching into yellow tinted clouds, double orbs mirroring a dying light. I force my lungs shallow, oxygen tank blinking red, ticking quietly. I touch broken earth to my cheek, cover my eyes with limp wrists, attempting a final rest. they open to silence, blurring sky falling slowly into punctures of light in the darkness. my lungs heave to call out their names, forgetting Yours. instead, sparks swim into mist, kaleidoscope as I sigh into sleep.
This poem was inspired by Katie’s visit to the She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia exhibit at The Morgan Library and Museum. Motivated by the first writer identified by name, Enheduanna, and her poetry, we set out to write poems following the story of a heroine. Although I don’t usually write narrative poems, and definitely not sci-fi poems, the story slowly revealed itself to me as I typed it up.
The poem then went through a series of revisions. I started by converting the poem to more of a prose poem, so that I could read all the lines together and ensure that everything made sense. I then broke it back down into lines and stanzas. With help from Katie, I also tried to ensure that what was happening in the poem was clear to the reader without overloading on detail. At last, it was time to choose a title. I decided to go with a line from the poem that I felt captured the mood of the poem pretty well.
Asma Al-Masyabi is a free-verse poet and visual artist based in Colorado, who occasionally delves into flash fiction. She is currently pursuing her Associates in English with a concentration in creative writing. Her two biggest passions are crafting the written word and art and she wants to pursue a life-long career where she can do both. She’s dreaming big dreams, reading good books, while simultaneously baking chocolate chip cookies. When not experimenting in the kitchen, you can find her reading all the comics she can get her hands on and watching the next big hit her mom found on TV.