The Darwin Vampires
Being loth to sink in at your neck, they prefer to drink
Between your toes. They revel in the feet; they especially
Enjoy those places in between, where microbial kingdoms,
Overthrown with a pessary, render needle-toothed
Injuries invisible; where any trace of ingress, lost in the fold,
Is conspicuous - as they themselves in daylight are -
By its absence. You will hardly notice that small
Sting; might not miss a drop until the moment
That the very last is drained. And when you're six
Beneath the topsoil, you will never rise to join them.
Rather, you will be a hint; a fluctuating butterfly;
A taste-regret on someone's tongue; a sudden tinted
Droplet in the iris of a fading smile; a blush upon
A woman's rose; a broken vein in someone's eyelid -
Always one degree below what's needed to be warm.
In that recurring future memory,
I push out from the capsule's
Open hatch - my Mercury
Recalling Alan Shepard's.
Snug within a pressure suit,
I'm paid out on the tether line
That tautens until, breaking
Tensile limits, it whips free,
Unleashing an infinity
In which I feel no terror.
Rather, lost in wonder at the sky,
I find a liberation in accepting
That I'll die out here.
There's nowhere I would rather die.
Mislaid between the moon
And Cape Canaveral,
I revel in being utterly alone,
Elated in my weightlessness -
The last breath in my lungs expelled
To hush a fragile wisp
From that frail atmosphere
Of bygone Earth above where
Nature ever dared to blow.
The flower of an astral ghost,
My final exhalation, leaves
A shrinking mist upon the glass.
Embalmed by space and gliding
Out of orbit, now descending
To cremation-by-re-entry -
I desire within my reverie
To settle on the solar wind,
And float serenely far beyond Centauri.