The night parts and makes room for her. She opens her eyes, and sees the absence of home. No recycled bed where others died, no sweat-coated sheets, no distant body / other body / back bracing her side.
just Epsilon Crucis,
just the great orange giant,
The intrusive. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
She moves high in the south, she moves in minima, in maxima.
She doesn’t hear the cracking, broken telephone cry if she
scrapes loud enough, the metallic grating, burnt coffee
grounds drawn out with a fork.
They say that Crux is for the sailors, the cross out in the great Southern sky. They say that when you see it, the worst is over.
The shoes have been set on the windowsill to dry. The baby that cries in her arms, cries in the bed, cries in the hour when no one is watching her.
The comfort symbol, the beacon, a kite-shaped banner. Just one thing is off:
the Epsilon, the star that doesn’t fit.
I move where I shouldn’t. You only need four stars to make the cross, but Crux has five. The extra, the one that forces itself in. There is, they say, no place, we are full, we are over-capacity. We have all that we need, and you are the episilon.
The other body faced away from her, she fits into the edge of the bed. Empty space, why shouldn’t she possess it? Space of nothing. A claim staked in the unclaimed, still within eyesight, earshot. Caught between the Delta and the Alpha. EpsCru, an easy abbreviation. They can smell her from this distance.
She of the residue, carrier of sweat, purveyor of blood. Handprints, dirt tracks. Too much hair in the drain, in the vacuum, in his fingers.
I am seen in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, but Espirito Santo—the holy spirit—is my home.
She carries inanimate active desire on her back. It is long in gestation, longer now than any child she bore, so long now unborn she wonders if it can survive outside of the space of her.
I of the asterism. I hold children’s hands, I teach them to connect the dots—while I’m outside of the line.
Dishes dirty too quickly, flakes that cling and stain. She scrubs till she can see the blood in the cracks, red in scaly skin. But still the voice of the body, how can there be so many? How can there be so much?
I discover my value is 5. A middle, an unimpressive average. 5--the Epsilon, the 5th letter of the Greek, the 3 prongs of the E. More minima, maybe. If I were the 7th sister, glow so far and faint to be hidden to the eye, I would cause less offense.
In the formality of the sky, she finds the technicalities of her. By definition, Class K. She is unsurprised to find she is cooler than the Sun. Placed side by side, she would be drawn into the mass, the large weight of his body, more poles than she has. No matter the flare of her arms, no matter the force of her coronal mass ejection, nothing can save her from being swallowed up, burnt by the heat and weight around her.
I intrude, but at least they say that I am: how you know the truth. False crosses aren’t burdened with me, my speckled cross the true guide to safe waters.
She moves past the front window, left open, past the hollow space in the ground near the driveway. To the thick filter, the dense world, the city. She always walks in places she hasn’t before. The sound of steady birds on wires, a welcome, a warning.
Let me be there, unseen.
Let me be there let me be
unable to miss.
The night opens up, and she wraps herself in the empty matter, the dark shroud. The night opens and there is no body next to her, no body turned away in the endless, visible dark.