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  • The Space Traveler's Husband, and: The Space Traveler and Wandering, and: Space Traveler, Great Filter, and: The Space Traveler and Crop Circles, and: The Space Traveler's Husband, and: The Space Traveler and Runaway Stars
  • Benjamin S. Grossberg (bio)
  • The Space Traveler's Husband
  • Benjamin S. Grossberg

In terms of location, all I can say is"back there," and pointto a patch of sky: a place no thickeror thinner in stars. In termsof the quality of life, the colorand heat of its sun, atmosphericfeel on the skin, I can saynothing. And yet nights-my shipin the yard-I lay, a guest,in one of their frame structures.He was not the most acuteof their species; he failed to noticethat I needed a helmet to breathe orthat my limbs did not unfold (enfold)like his own. Maybe he noticedand didn't care. He brought bowlsof a limp green vegetable and weate beside each other in silence.This was always in winter, alwayswith blankets he drew around us.There was a moment before I left,standing on the ship's retractable stairs,back to the arched door: I saw himwatch me through the kitchen window.It was night and the darkness of spacepressed right down against his lawn.Well, it's years since that moment.I have grown old in this ship, balledlike a worm in its silver pods.And because I have been travelingfaster than light, nearly fiftygenerations have slid between us.(I am in fact the only living thingthat knows he existed.) Butit's also possible that I am caughtin that moment right now: still [End Page 98] seeing careworn eyes through a paneof glass. A yellow incandescenceburns behind him, and both of uswonder if I'm really going to leave. [End Page 99]

  • The Space Traveler and Wandering
  • Benjamin S. Grossberg

Roadless vehicle: means that everyinstance is a juncture, that everypath branches always-and in threedimensions. This is the burdenof untethering wholly: all planets, allplaces have equal claim, anywherebecome everywhere. Once I putroots down on a world in the mostliteral sense: slid with my index fingerrow after row of seeds into nearlygranulated soil: on all fours, palmsand knees roughening, darkening.I crawled the field's length beneaththat planet's triple suns, saw at equalspacing the nearly translucent conesburst from the ground. And soonhow they uncoiled into spears.There was no reason for the gladnessthis occasioned in my heart, no causeto adore the line after line of them,that my hand seemed to raise themhigher and higher from the dirt, eacha marionette made to pull itselfup to full height. I think of them now,looking out a window of this ship:panning the scattering of stars,themselves like seeds indexed intothe black loam of space. There wasa field that was my home, a worldI understood in the long silencesof its dawns. Now there's this:stars thick and old as fire. In alltheir history, none have crackedopen, no golden thread of rootsunwinding beneath them. [End Page 100]

  • Space Traveler, Great Filter
  • Benjamin S. Grossberg

Somewhere, the choke-what cuts off oxygen, makesthe internal combustionof life sputter out. There's noother answer to the paradox:if life, human, then whyno evidence? Given the scaleof stars, the scale of years,life ought to have left behinda little litter, observable evenwith your humble Hubble.You wonder, don't you, ifyou're there: that Panamawhere continent thins to isthmus,those shoals where speciesbreak and dissolve in capsof white fizz, as if there wasan inverse relationship betweenintricacy and durability, and youhad just become a little toocomplex for your own good.Well, I have, more than twice(for a few of your solar years),mothballed this shipin an alien's shed, have foundon his planet a cat-like creatureto leap from my dresserto his...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
p. 97
Launched on MUSE
2010-08-04
Open Access
No
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