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Wednesday, September 26, 2012


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

On a cold clear night
A thousand years from now
An amateur astronomer
Somewhere in our galaxy
Scans the star-splashed blackness
Through her powerful telescope
And focuses on a vivid blue dot she has
Not seen before
She types its coordinates into her computer
And reads the entry:

K129XX73PSI: A small planet in the R472  region of our galaxy.  The planet has great topographical diversity, including mountain ranges, vast plains and large bodies of water. Its atmosphere contains heavy concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. Weather patterns are turbulent and chaotic.  Of interest due to evidence suggesting it once supported a highly complex and thriving community of living organisms, including, for a brief time, a species capable of building cities and roads.  Currently there are no signs of life of any kind.

The amateur astronomer
Goes to the kitchen to make a cup of tea
And as she sips
She wonders what happened on K129XX73PSI
Was it a single apocalyptic event
That destroyed all life in a flash
Or a gradual deterioration
Preceding total collapse
She pictures final agonies
But has to turn away

Back at her telescope
She takes another look at the blue dot
But she has no heart now
For exploring the cosmos
She raises her cup to the night sky
To wish a peaceful rest
For the spirits of K129XX73PSI’s departed
And to bid all beings Godspeed
On their journey through the glittering dark

Buff Whitman-Bradley's poetry has appeared in many print and online journals.  With his wife Cynthia he is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, Outside In,  and co-editor of the forthcoming book About Face: GI Resisters Turn Against War (PM Press, 2011).  He is also co-producer/director of the documentary Por Que Venimos.