from Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella

Chapter 1: WMAP

Like everyone offworld, I used my time in the gallery of maps to further an agenda. It was this feeling of empire I chose to collide. As if buried deep inside the shore you make capillary shapes to. Because if the world is anthropic. We could spend our entire lives plucking the interplanetary pearls from our hearts.
      You are just like the others, she notes. Surveying continents, their lavish names.
      Continents are like wings, I confess. From an airplane, all labyrinths look alike.
      Solar systems, as bound objects, are never fully available to my needs. In astronomy, that black drapery of the stars, revolution is a safe return to a starting point. Deep in the curve of my heart, as if the sea weren’t underneath. I do the math for fresh water. Spirals are for pleasure. Above, in the cult of what would happen if we had choices, would we know it?
      A particle physicist by profession, she was schooled in both charm and beauty states. I develop theories that apply at all distance scales. This is no gift but rather a candlelight spell for prosperity. Leakages are common and do not dissuade me. Pranks, like anything else, happen at the most tesseract levels. It’s the one stipulation behind the cloak.
      But we are also dependent on factors like dimension and torque. She brings the lamp closer. The background diminishes while her outline brightens.
      What is the definition between love, she asks, and its future?
      One circumnavigates the body, looking for a generator, a wayward skin. Mine is part myth, half demolished, fully waking.
      Yours moves in waves, she says, so that when we combine, we are extraordinary.
      This is the future, I respond. Love is the hybrid of us all.
      I want to live like that, she claims. In particular, when you exist, you live like the trees, bifurcated, and then like the storms, hollow.
      The rebel strikes, I mouth. From the discordian shore, ripple the edge in my direction, letting the vantage fever, undo its root.
      She hesitates. Non-locality aside, much of the difficulty is in the assumptions, she says. It always is.
      Like a pyramid appearing over our greatest city, I propose. Can you imagine it? The air quiet with lightning. Galaxies unwinding the word from the book.
      A poem is a pilot, she writes. And satellites and species.
      A poem is high-frequency, we read. On first contact we glide to the hum of an invisible engine.
      You’re a rocketship, I radio.
      We spacewalk, she says.
      Like sex—the kind that pushes the hottest weather patterns out to the front, to be seen. Since skin buckles and rains. Through its lines, I type, in superstrings, in streaks.
      It is in this sense that all language, I remember.
      Unconcealed, she prompts.
      We devolve in certain waters. I head away from ethernity and begin to speak as it speaks me.


Amy Catanzano is the author of iEpiphany (Erudite Fangs Press) and the forthcoming collection Multiversal, selected by Michael Palmer for the 2008 Poets Out Loud Prize with Fordham University Press. Her poems have been published widely in literary journals such as Conjunctions, Fence, Volt, Denver Quarterly, American Letters & Commentary, Colorado Review and elsewhere. She has poetry appearing in the forthcoming anthology, A Best of Fence: The First Nine Years. She has an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She works and teaches in the Writing and Poetics Department in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.