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Sometime last night
in between
my after-dinner cigarette
and bedtime
I swallowed a galaxy.

I first felt it
as a glottal stop,
inhalation and exhalation paused,
while it inched, python-like,
past my pharynx, squeezed down my esophagus,
popping from the bottom like a cap gun,
swelling in my stomach like an overripe melon,
before lodging, creaking and expansive,
against the inside of my rib cage
stretching its spiral arms up the curve of my backbone,
halo tickling the tip of my uvula.

This astronomical invasion
pinned me breathless and wheezy
to the disheveled sheets of my queen bed,
gasses ballooning through my organs,
muscles bourgeoned by the gravity of
blue stars and red dwarfs, the orbits
of universes pinging against my skeleton,
nebulae oozing between my fascia,
mute and wild-eyed, blanched with a dread
only one whose body is being
endlessly expanded can fathom.

Witness to this dread and wonder,
I could no longer see the white fault lines
of my water-stained ceiling,
no longer hear the muted calling
of my family from the next room,
as I dissolved finally into the black-hole heart
of the galaxy that swallowed me from the inside out,
my vision filled with circumgalactic stardust

and the void.

R.B. Simon is a queer artist and writer of African/European-American descent. She has been published in multiple literary journals, and her chapbook, The Good Truth, was released by Finishing Line Press in July 2021. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her spouse, daughter, and four dogs. You can see more of her work at
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