Nabeela Altaf






The astronaut sets up her telescope
gravity sunken and dead.
Her camera floats against the pitch wallpaper.
She reaches for her glass of milk
sets out her eye on Earth.
Her telescope bursts into flames.
Earth is on fire: red mixing with orange.
She gazes in gasped horror
wondering how long it would take
for the Men to fly to Mars
and the Women to Venus.
The babies would be left to float
in the stillness of space
burping silent cries.
Earth continues to burn
and the astronaut continues to watch.
She feels something light, something feathery against her shoulder.
She trains her eyeball away from the telescope.
A red autumn leaf rests in her hand.