Alicia Salvadeo was born in New York and now lives in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with
a B.A. in Creative Writing and History. Her poetry has appeared in
Three Rivers Review, Weave Magazine, and The Portland Review (online)
and she currently writes book reviews for Phantom Limb Press.

The Virginity of Astronauts

It took him eight minutes to notice his body was missing. Begging the question: can a feeling have another feeling? [Someone said: inhale as if your chest is limitless or not there. Someone told him: forgive the worn out scribe, who in rewriting hallowed papers mistook poeta for poena, the blindspot we've inherited.] It is not like sailing, he would later object. It is not like flying, or fainting. It is not like any book that I have read. My breath felt heavier than I felt, it fogged the convex glass—I could not make out past it. [And yet, someone said, in a photograph of the sun, you notice that you cannot see the sun.]


Some say of nothing, point to lack, to want of, an absence with no referent; and it is that to which they say all things return. [The Sistine Chapel's doors open for a first time in celebration of assumption.] Desire sheds its leather jacket, skinny jeans, patterned socks, in scant lightness lifts above the eddies of the chromosphere. [Behind the altar, the artist paints himself into the sinking skin of a flayed saint among] Desire, because it cannot reach escape velocity, is decidedly a lingerer, a hanger-onner, is orbital, anemic corona. [bodies stuck, uncertain whether this is ascent or descent—] Is, itself, desiderative. [toward what—


To wake at the end of the line, not sure of where. Humbled passenger exodus. Perforated bus platform. Which one you. Which one me. Not as imagined: open-ended, exophoric. [Not of nothing, he says, but of all things taken together at once.] Closer to homesickness for matter non-parting, Pangaea's persistence, or something like that. Mitotic retrograde of daughters, whose though. [He leaves out the part in which all things at once disperse.] This is not about the "ghost of my nothingness," or maybe. Maybe yours. Which one lover. Which one beloved. Which hypothetical landmass. Which mural face. Sleep in boots, day clothes, old dirts. Never sleep.


When you left the city, it was more than omne animal triste est. I don't think I got that right. More than this, hand over mouth. Hand retreating from a hand. Hard distance between extremities in the inch barely painted on the wall. How sacred rendering so easily lends itself to parody: E.T. and Elliott [backdrop of an airborne bicycle, an overblown mislit moon]; Homer and Groening [backdrop of Springfield Nuclear Power Plant]; Spaghetti Monster [part meatball]; monetary exchange [American dollar]; pull-my-finger [ ]. There was no room for shame in intimate spaces, we let our bodies go. Anima tristis est. Bodies, come back.

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