As though touching her
might make him known to himself,

as though his hand moving
over her body might find who
he is, as though he lay inside her, a country

his hand’s traveling uncovered,
as though such a country arose
continually up out of her
to meet his hand’s setting forth and setting forth.

And the places on her body have no names.
And she is what’s immense about the night.
And their clothes on the floor are arranged
for forgetfulness.
—  Li-Young Lee, “Dwelling,” Book of My Nights

“Thoughts upon the Shuttle”

Halfway through the 14 hour shuttle ride from his parent’s home on Earth to his boarding school a few star systems over, Caleb McDaniels looks up from the homework he was meant to do over his Spring break and finds himself getting lost in the sea of stars out the window.

Having traveled this route back and forth from school every few months for several years now, he was quite bored with the long trip through space, and was equally bored with the thought of doing his homework to occupy himself. 

He stares at the same stars he always sees, and just lets his mind wander.

Each year he feels like the visit home is becoming more and more of a hassle for his parents… Maybe he just won’t go home anymore, so that his return doesn’t always put them out.  Home isn’t really home anyways.

The dreary planet below, some polluted backwater baby-Earth named QiiQ, catches Caleb’s eye as the shuttle travels past.   They still haven’t been connected to the interstellar routes, leaving anyone on the planet to be stuck where they are for their entire lives.

Caleb tries to picture what life would be like down there; how his point of view would be different if he was raised there and not on Earth, how his mindset just wouldn’t be the same…  It looks like nothing but dirt and sadness from up here.

He feels sad for the QiiQians, but he also knows he’s just saying that to himself because he’s supposed to.  He doesn’t really care.

Cursing himself for not bringing a book (he told himself that if he brought a book he wouldn’t do his homework but he should know himself well enough to know that he wasn’t going to do the homework either way), Caleb will spend the rest of the trip unsuccessfully trying to nap and hoping no one sits next to him.

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