Vast Dark Wild

Vast Dark Wild
Mack W. Mani

Every hundred years,
you open up the viewing bay
to glimpse the passing stars,
the brief and harmless radiation
lapping your eyes with
benign cosmic fever.

And then it’s back to fugue,
deadlifts and video games;
Shaia shorts the modlift
and descends,
retreating back
to her spiderwebs
and lab grown meat.

Reiner kicks off and up
into the server wing
to his chambers and music,
to drown the port cupola
in neon revelry.

And Alexei just sits
at her console,
little lights as ever blinking
and back again.

Everyone thus occupied,
you and I can slip
and swim
among the shadowed roots
of cypress trees
that grow along
the sloping bank
of the thermal garden.

The water here
is finite, crystal,
and by now
all of it has passed
through your bodies
at one time or another.

It glamours lively
beneath a hundred crimson
grow light suns
our bodies stirring
ruby-glitter waves
to lick the black sand shore.

But after,
I begin to wonder
what a woman
like me
was built for.

And as if in response
you say,
This almost feels
just like the moon
where I was born.

As a girl
I’d swim there too,
with my sisters…
and you laugh
a nervous
little laugh,
we never wore
clothes either.

And I think
that I am falling in love.

Sometimes out here,
it’s all too easy to feel
like a postage stamp:
licked and laid,
a tiny square secured fast
to hurtling vessel,
helpless and supine sent
into the vast dark wild.

Mack W. Mani is an Oregon based poet and author. In 2018 he was awarded Best Screenplay at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. He currently co-hosts The Gentleman’s Romantic Book Nook podcast.