Size / / /

Uranium's not that rare

but even so, it's not as if

you have to find it

and mine it and refine it

the way so much of everything goes missing

at every step from ore to end

and called shrinkage

     We always knew

     we weren't the only world, not even

     here in our own little system

     and now that they keep finding others

     by the wobbles of their suns

     red and blue shifts

     and simple common sense

Every ragtag and pissant

pissing his pants to get his hands

on the unholy grail, the way nukes change

everything, and make the big boys pee

theirs for a change

     That big bowl in Puerto Rico

     gulping in all that snap and crackle

     from all those stars out there

     and all those SETI screensavers

     sieving all that data

How hard can it be

to hijack or gather up

a few fissionable crumbs

and remember that undergrad from Princeton

who got an A from the State Department

     A few common elements in something liquid

     sunshine and lightning

     or sulfur and volcanic vents

     with time enough for many tries

     yearning for existence

How is it that

     there's no one but us

     and we're still here

K. J. Kirby came from the historic Hudson Valley and will not say how old she was before she learned that Ichabod Crane and Rip van Winkle were not actual personages. She recently emerged from the surreal fantasy world of tax preparation, and has a forthcoming poem in Abyss & Apex. You can contact her at
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