Every Thirty Years on Cygnus 5
by Samantha Henderson



How still the day seems without the wind

And hot, as if the air were pregnant, waiting . . . .

 

Some go mad the day it stops:

Not the young, not their first time. 

It’s 30 years later, when they feel it die,

And although they knew it would happen; knew

About the triple witching hour of flare, orbit, and dew point; knew

It happened three decades ago, will happen hence, still --

You know the ones: they chatter too loud, but their eyes are glazing

Over, they are too still, like the air, like they try to hide

Inside its torpidity, before they lash out,

Running down the cliff-mazes, howling.

It’s dangerous to stop them; you hope

Their feet are sure; you hope

Some kind angel guides them down.

 

How still the day seems without the wind

And hot, as if the air were pregnant, waiting

For something stillborn to drop from its belly

So it can move again.

 

About the Author:

Samantha Henderson lives in Southern California with mysteriously increasing numbers of corgis and rabbits. Her work can be seen online at Strange Horizons, The Fortean Bureau, Ideomancer, Abyss and Apex, Neverary, Would That It Were, Bloodlust-UK, and the archives of Lone Star Stories.  You can learn more of Samantha by visiting her website.


Poem 2005 Samantha Henderson. Painting by Jan Asselyn, circa 1652.