The Starship: VIII



by Sarah Blake

Your neighbor asks if you will
try to buy a house together
after you find jobs. We can
pick it based on the yard.
Here’s the conversation you
didn’t want to have. But part
of you didn’t believe you would
make it this far. And weren’t
the last years sort of lovely?


You say it as plainly as you can.
I want kids. Now that we made it.
I want kids. Here. You think
that’ll be the end of it. But he says,
Me too. And you can’t stop yourself.
I don’t believe you. Or I believe you
but nine months is a long time,
and I don’t believe your desire is…
steadfast. He says, Steadfast?
What am I? A sea captain?


He makes it easy to turn to jokes.
I just want to date some future humans.
He says, Who can blame you?
And that’s the last you talk about it.
You thought the romantic part of you
would’ve been killed as punishment
for abandoning your husband,
but you find yourself thinking, if we’re
meant to be, it could still happen.


You start dating the man who
names all the flowers for you.
It seems easier to fall in love
on this planet. There’s not one
man who doesn’t respect you
or doesn’t think you deserve
equal pay or reproductive rights.
You get a job at a museum
and you move into his house.


You ask why he was still single and he confesses
that he was waiting for the starship’s return.
His childhood was full of nothing but talk of the ship.
Preparations and dying planets and it led him
to stories of Earth. He read so many old novels.
You realize you’re sleeping with a sort of fanatic.
Like you’re a rockstar. You’re not sure if he would
love you otherwise. But that’s lucky for you.


He doesn’t like that you were married before.
Divorce is so rare now because people
are required to be together a certain length
of time before they marry, and then they face
less hardships. And you’re not even divorced.
You’re technically married to a man in the past,
on the planet your new lover obsesses over,


But that’s not true. He probably
filed for divorce and checked off
some box: ☐ left on a starship.
And it was granted to him by a judge,
nodding in his black robes.
Then you realize, in some way,
most ways, entirely, based on
the understanding of time you’re
familiar with, were raised with,
your husband is dead.
And you’re a widow.

“The Starship” is a book-length poem which will be published in illustrated installments on weekdays from September 15 to September 30, 2015.

About the Author:

Sarah Blake is the author of Mr. West, an unauthorized lyric biography of Kanye West, out with Wesleyan University Press.

Divorce form excerpt provided by government officials of our fictional future.