453: You Can Take Off Your Sweater, I've Made Today Warm

453: You Can Take Off Your Sweater, I've Made Today Warm

453: You Can Take Off Your Sweater, I've Made Today Warm

This week, we're featuring poems related to outer space. Stars. Planets. Even aliens. What can we discover about ourselves, when we consider the cosmos?

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You Can Take Off Your Sweater, I've Made Today Warm
by Paige Lewis

Sit on the park bench and chew this mint leaf.
Right now, way above your head, two men

floating in a rocket ship are ignoring their
delicate experiments, their buttons flashing

red. Watching you chew your mint, the men
forget about their gritty toothpaste, about

their fingers, numb from lack of gravity.
They see you and, for the first time since

liftoff, think home. When they were boys
they were gentle. And smart. One could

tie string around a fly without cinching it
in half. One wrote tales of sailors who

drowned after mistaking the backs of
whales for islands. Does it matter which

man is which? They just quit their mission
for you. They’re on their way down. You’ll

take both men — a winter husband and
a summer husband. Does it matter which

is — don’t slump like that. Get up, we have
so much work to do before — 		    wait 		     you’re going

the wrong 	way 	       small whelp of a woman! 	this is not

               how we     behave 		       where are you going

                                                                                            this world is already         willing

to give you anything 		do you want to know Latin

                                                                                                       okay 	 now everyone

here knows Latin           want inflatable     deer 	     deer !	  	           i promise the winter /

summer children will barely hurt 		dear 	    i’m hurt    that you would ever think

                                            i don’t glisten to you	i’m always glistening

           tame your voice 	   and 	    turn around

the men are coming 		     they’ve traded everything for you		 the gemmy   starlight

                the click		                     click 			                   click

                                                                                                                    of the universe  expanding


       aren’t you known 		aren’t you
                                                                         known here

how can you be certain that anywhere else will provide

                                                                                         more pears than you could ever eat

                                 remember the sweet rot of it all

come back	       you forgot your sweater

                                                what if there’s nothing there when you —

                                                                                        you don’t have your


                                                                                                                                                     what if it’s cold

"You Can Take Off Your Sweater, I've Made Today Warm," by Paige Lewis, from SPACE STRUCK by Paige Lewis, copyright © 2019 Paige Lewis. Used by permission of Sarabande Books.