I pass through expanding emptiness as entropy takes hold, planets dispersing like atoms in a solar wind. Moons shine glassy but opaque dark nebulae behind them fizzling with little jagged spears of lightning, as they judge. Maybe I shouldn’t be here traveling, the stark sunlight of staring stars burning in fearful faces, scald my surface, changing the atmosphere. We are objects in space, distant bodies. We cannot come too close or gravity will pull us down into a dark well where what remains of our time and hope is crushed. They spin away, these worlds, out of reach, while comets on a collision course, trail tails of dangerous matter, and I widen my orbit to avoid contact. I don’t like the way I’m seen. The stars goad me into guilt for being. But, maybe, they are just mirrors of my own fear, for we all live in a new universe where we cannot even touch the spiraling arms of the galaxies we know best and call home for fear of them collapsing into black holes. But, as we whirl into the vacuum I remind myself It’s not indifference that keeps us apart: it’s compassion.
By Rhian Waller