When I look up to the skies, I think about how I lost you to the planets. Across the stars that sprinkle down onto Manhattan there is not a moment when I’m not searching for your smile. Yes! It’s finally happened madam, I’ve made it to here. New York’s worked out for me, and it’s still a dream spiraling out before my eyes– and no one’s stopping to contain it. This is all I wanted, but no matter how grand this city grows it will never get me to you.
To think that in those years you were already an unreachable girl. Admitting to it now, no one back home thought you would make the cut. There was only one certainty and that was in your heart, armed with a fairy tale. The myth of Atargatis was your favorite because she founded mermaids. Your reason for going was to find out where else in this universe might be a chance to start anew. We both were aware that what we were seeing from our hills in Oakland, beyond downtown’s skyline, was also fixed in the minds of the 78,000 others across Earth– like you, all discarding this world as a wasteland.
Every few months they narrowed their lists until those beautiful words for ROSE JANE M. arrived in the mail, gilded gold letters. Of course they would love you. Anyone would kill to carry your innocence across moons. In that moment you were called away to begin anew on the Red Planet our nights changed. Stars shone brighter for you– I saw blackness.
78,000– then out of the blackness– 100. You were number 9 of the remaining 10. They cut people every day and each time that blackness descended onto the wasteland that kept us together because you stopped coming to the hills with me.
Your family hosted your farewell party to time it with the CBS special where they interviewed you with the other 4 Americans who got selected. A bio-medic researcher from Milwaukee, and a geologist from Orlando were among your elite. Though none of those things, it was clear that watching you on TV you belonged there.
I apologize to you now rose for my lingering bitterness. None of it will ever truly go away since we lost you here on Earth. I’m sorry too that it got the better of me, fighting with you on that long drive through Coachella desert when we went to see your brother out in Blythe. I wasn’t thinking about how those last hours in the dark, after midnight, would be your last time to really feel the Earth beneath us, beneath the stars that would steal you away to a Heaven no one here can understand. You don’t deserve my anger. My burdens. Tethered to my own fears and I try and still wish sometimes that I can still pull you down into my silent drowning.
Those are my best moments here in the city with ever-flickering lights, trying to shine new paths in this dog-gone place crumbling on its own fresh paved roads over the old. It’s that sea we swim in farther and farther thinking something strange and beautiful is out there when it’s been us the strange ones all along.
It isn’t really a loss now that I search fr you up there. All still black, but a faint starburst now that only you and I can see.