Six poems by Heather Cox

We Were Tired of Living on Earth


The wood panels on the wall began to flake and splinter. We
saw, more than once, the face of Jesus Christ in carpet
stains. The ceiling seemed to drip syrup; the vents coughed
black ash.

Our neighbors never smiled–in fact, I can’t remember their
full-faces, only frowns.

Our yard, a patch of crippled grass, lasted only a single
spring rain before sinking into a mudpuddle.

We heard the moon was made of cheese and the cost of
living, cheap.


We started sleeping in tents, poking strings of lights through
our tarp roof to build our own constellations. The moon
shone through when the fuses blew.

Our stomachs taut like tightrope as we planned our exodus.
Our knuckles cracked, our fingernails chipped, our arms
drooped in exhaustion as we built a small rocketship from
fragments of our life on earth: engines, tires, copper springs,
gold coils, aluminum foil and siding, garden hoses,

We sparked through the night unnoticed, save a few
neighbors we never knew anyway.


Into the Magnificent Desolation


We don’t know much about gravity
but we feel a dark energy nuzzle the nape of our necks,

stretching our shadows that sprout
from light of a single swinging bulb. Against its will

we are floating closer together.

Out the one window, streaks of street lights dim
as we drift out of atmosphere. Scrambled broadcasts spring

from satellites like always, but nothing
we can hear from here.


The moon occupies our whole horizon,
flashlight for this blanket of sky.

Its scorched skin startles us, but
its myriad of dimples delight;

we imagine tickling them with our toes
as we stare back at our former planet.

Our new vantage point gives us perspective:
we were so small before, a fraction

of a fraction, the piece of the pie so insignificant
it’s left untouched after dinner. Soon,

we will be everything, an entire population

on this near side of the moon.


Master of the Universe

I slouch in the comfiest
of craters, crack my knuckles back,

preparing to work my magic. I
inhale, stealing the smell

of night from the flat air.
I touch my lips to the ether,

mouthing words to rouse the earth—
light, worship, dominion—

I use my mute tongue
as a rope to tug the planets

along their invisible orbit
around the sun.

It looks like it’s working.


Lunar Aubade

It’s 5 a.m. somewhere.
It’s always midnight

here. A star winks slightly
some light years away

hoping we’ll still be around
to see it in the future.

In this darkness you don’t notice,
as I unravel myself from you,

tiny dust clouds accumulating
before I skip away. I’d leave a note

but I’ll be in this same rock-
bed tomorrow

for the rest of my life.


New Kind of Letter

I try writing to you in blood, so you can better see the letters,
but the blood begins to tell another story. When I write love
the platelets part and in their absence is obligation. I tell you
that I’ll never leave you, I write forever, but it says evaporate,
then vanish. I get tired of trying to tell you the truth and I sign
my name anyway but the letters spell no one.



There would be something in the water
if this rock had springs or lakes, at least rain,
but it’s so dry it’s only dust
and that leaves us with what excuse?

If this place had lakes or rivers
would we swallow all the water and sink?
We wouldn’t leave a note, an excuse.
We’d drift into silt in silence.

Some days I swallow my thoughts and sink
into darkness—it sparks a madness.
I drift into a silt of silence,
but my mind is buzzing like beehive.

Cosmonauts know this darkness is madness.
No blue skies, no rising sun,
no small sounds like buzzing from beehive,
nothing but the noise of your own thoughts.

No blue skies, no rising sun, no Starbucks–
all the things we knew are lost to us now.
Our only comfort is the sound of our own thoughts,
repeating endlessly like lines in a pantoum.

Everything we knew is lost.
It’s so dry, we’re full of dust.
Barren land repeats endlessly like a flatline.
There must be something in the water.

More poetry at Used Furniture.

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