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Katherine Fallon

Voyager, -Bound, Father


Old man, believer in other, surely better 

worlds: up there would be anti-gravity, 

your bones buoyed, seeming not to know 

each other, never having met. No air, either.

You'd like it there, in the dark room 

of boyhood dreaming; you saw it 

on TV and never forgot. No narrative, 

there’s no space in space and no way 

to hold you. When you let go, you'll sink 

down low. You’ll rise, too, like a cream top.

I’d give you away—a way up—if I could. 

You might as well be the silence 

of Voyager's orbit, the golden record itself:

far-flung message, eternally unheard.  


Father, now you are the ghost elephant[1],

the vacant boat[2], the spot on the wall

where a portrait used to hang, brighter 

than its surrounds, demonstrating loss. 

You are the cockless dawn, the cloudless 

sky, the draught-blighted farmland 

of the Midwest. Deep in earth though not

of Earth at all, you are black-hole material: 

demoted planet, imploded star, I wake 

because you told me of landings. 







[1] From Jean Valentine’s “Ghost Elephants”

[2] From Li Young Lee’s “Black Petal”

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Katherine Fallon received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and is the author of The Toothmaker's Daughters (Finishing Line Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Colorado Review, Juked, Meridian, Foundry and Best New Poets 2019, among others. She shares space with two indoor cats and one stray, a giant water turtle, two semi-aggressive cichlids, two chickens and her favorite human, who helps her zip her dresses.

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