Monday, you are 30 years old
and turn 43.
Our last Christmas you gifted me your favorite book.
It was the only time we hugged.
Tuesday, an 11-foot arm
touched an asteroid 200 million miles away.
I count the years I’ve read The Little Prince
and add them to your age.
NASA’S OSIRIS-REx revolved around the asteroid Bennu for two years
before landing in a crater the size of my apartment.
My family thinks I am grieving too long,
but I’m not meant to know this.
Wednesday, we pass through the dust and rock
remnants of Halley’s Comet.
“All men have the stars,” he answered,
“but they are not the same things for different people.”
Halley is the shape of a peanut shell. Ten miles long.
Its tail stretches out 13 million miles.
I wonder who, besides your mom and I,
are celebrating you.
At 1:50 p.m., OSIRIS-REx exited orbit
to execute the “Touch-and-Go” sequence. TAG.
The city outshines the black backdrop.
My rods and cones can’t see the rocks burn.
Volatile ices—carbon, ammonia, dioxide,
water—and dust. Halley is mostly dust.
“but all these stars are silent.
You–you alone–will have the stars as no one else has them–“
The Little Prince lived on Asteroid B-612.
Is B for Bennu?
I’m not creative enough to think of who you would be
at 43. Out of habit, I still try.
It is the only close-range comet
that can appear twice in a human lifetime.
TAG. You’re it.
OSIRIS-REx will spin with it’s arm out
to feel the weight of the dust.
“In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing.
And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night.”
Halley will return in 2061.
You’ll be 84 years old. And still 30.
Did you get scooped up?
But it’s not too long.
Traveling these long distances takes time.
OSIRIS-REx returns in 2023.
I’ll have to wait
to see you again.
By Linds Sanders
The stanzas in italics are direct quotes from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Linds Sanders habits in saying “yes” to things that scare her. She yessed herself into whitewater kayaking, working with preteens, and saving house spiders. She’s not frightened by teaching art classes, serving on boards of directors, or living in a 60-square-foot van with her husband. She repurposed her BA in Journalism into an equally underpaying pursuit in poetry and art.