Wednesday Poem

Sergei Krikalev on the Space Station Mir

this is for those people
that hover and hover
and die in the ether peripheries
–Michael Ondaatje, “White Dwarfs”

My name is Sergei and
my body is a balloon.
I want to come down. I
tie myself to things.

My eyes try to describe your
face, they have forgotten.
My ears echo your voice.

I am a star, you can
see me skating on
the dome of night. My blades
catch sun from
the other side of earth.

Days last an hour and a half.
No one else lives here.
My country has disappeared,
I do not know where home is.

I am a painter standing back.
I watch clouds heave like cream
spilled in tea, I see
the burning parrot feathers
of the Amazon forests,
ranges of mountains are
scales along the hide
of the planet, the oceans
are my only sky.

This is my refuge. There is
no one else near me.
Do you understand what that means?

Elena, I am
cold up here.
I hang over Moscow and
imagine you in our flat
feeding little Olga
in a messy chair.
When I drift out of signal range
I do things you
don't want to hear about.

These feet do not know
my weight. A slow
balloon bounces off the walls.
I do not feel like I am flying.

I want to come back and
swim in your hair.
I want to smell you.
I want to arrive in the world
and know my place.
Think of me. I am yours adrift.

Let me describe
my universe: I can see for years.

by Jay Ruzesky
Painting The Yellow House Blue
House of Anansi Press, Concord, Ontario: 1994