Susan Cohen

Bright Clutter

Because I read about space junk and glimpsed that image 
of a Tesla, mannequin at the wheel as it shot past Mars, 

today I see my nephew floating in the ocean. He travels
as molecules among glittering galaxies of fish, 

but I see him back inside his skull, mutely mouthing 
underwater. His small plane plunged to the Pacific 

years ago, linking what’s above with what’s below. 
Currents spun him round for days. Food for fish. 

Matter swallowed by black holes. 
He still drifts between the worlds for me, eternal 

as a plastic man and occupied with nothing. 
It’s the ocean that stays busy. I forgive the ocean. 

I love to stare at how stubbornly it moves.  
Except he keeps washing up against me, stuck 

between forever and never again, bright clutter 
the universe refuses to erase and no one can retrieve.