Bonus Cut Poetry: “space between stars” By Ariel Kaplowitz

This is Bonus Cut Poetry, a series that features original poems by Bonus Cut staff, artists and YOU! In this series, our mission is to bring people together in poetry, share stories and display wonderful artistic pieces. If you would like to have your poems in the next Bonus Cut Poetry installment, just email us at bonuscut@gmail.com

This installment features guest-writer Ariel Kaplowitz.

space between stars
By: Ariel Kaplowitz 

Last night, in my insomnia, I listened for an hour to the radio
about the rings in coral which tell how many years have passed.
Some of the oldest corals, long fossilized, held stripes
indicating four-day years,
a result of the whirring of gravity
and the blast that shook things apart.
My half-conscious mind flickered
out to that time, the molten world,
the space between us and the moon, which then was ten times closer,
and the wildness of the tides covering Earth. These thoughts
threw me back into the squeezed places I avoid, the endlessness of galaxies,
undying blackness, the gaping space between stars. They are
intoxicating and poison, making me shrink into my mind,
death feeling tangible, the fuse
that blows this cosmic accident back where
it belongs – to dust, someday, stars again.

My mind throttles shoving me into space.
I feel close to collapsing in on myself from the weight.

When I was little, thoughts like these made me
scream and grip the bedsheets with both hands.
I would peel my eyes open and tear my skin with nails
because from out there, in the blackness, life
feels like a mistake, something the torn-up universe never meant to happen.

I was squeezing outward, last night, when something changed.
My thoughts, in the dark,
spun to you, a memory of your hand on my spine,
your fingers tracing maps to guide me home.
The truth of you, your realness, your unruly birthmark and
soft chest hair, the spasms you get in your leg – so human.
You are no fluke –
an accident, maybe, like the rest of us, but
how ever you got put together
was intentional: Nature taking scoops
of all the best things and packing them in.
In the sprawl and scream of the universe, you live,
heart beating defiantly, brown eyes wet and soft.
The memory of you wrangled me, inch by inch, back into my own bed,
my own body, my own mind, safe and big.

My eyes closed. I forced the scream away, letting in, instead, the
gush of the memory
of the night we lay on our sides, facing each other,
tears crinkling from the corners
of our eyes into the pillow. Brown eyes looking into brown eyes.
The peach colored light in the room, purple in the shadows,
our skin bare and whole. The feeling was
like first green shoots in spring, a long wait finally
coming to an end. We found each other.
Your warm hand on my back, pulling me closer, so
I could feel in my own chest the beating of your heart.

With your gravity around me,
human again,
I sank, gratefully, into sleep.

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