PIONEER 10

 

Its shadow’s been gone since lift-off

but it took light disappearing before lonely

seemed simply alone, or if not alone then deep

in the lab of the not understood, the not taste-of-ourselves

in its gold dust, the not soot-plumped sweat

of our brows incandescent with plutonium.

 

Shed of silver, quick, small– ideas burning off

like surplus fuel, the Pioneer 10 is a thought clicked

shut. Limbs drawn in, it drops like a tick

from the brain’s limbic core, like a photon

traveling who knows for how long

before reaching a body,

the way the mind needs an object,

something to crack open on, and by its reflection, shine.

 

 

PIONEER 10 PARSED

 

The genre was a flyby,

Pioneer 10 the singular proper noun

of the neuter gender,

subject complement renaming Pioneer F

after launching without a hitch.

launching--a verb expressing the action in the indicative mood.

without a hitch—prepositional phrase modifying

the launch into the past progressive—

42 years, 17 hours, 15 minutes

and counting. Goodbye direct objects.

Hello incomplete sentence,

body without a thought.

 

 

MARCH 2, 1972 FORECAST

 

The Pioneer 10 was the first human-made object

to stray from our solar system,

granola the first thing I ate today

while the wind smacked kissers of snow

against the double-glazed pane

and moose braved the yard

for the lower limbs of the weeping birch.

While at first we circled, now we settle.

I could have been a dancer, a stunt double,

and you, Pioneer 10, a pop can, a pie plate,

a gear driving the orrery of all you sail beyond.

 

When you launched there was a windchill,

minus 30, mostly cloudy. What went up,

stayed up, became the first earthly thing

with mass set to outlast the flutter board,

the pickle jar, the fear of death

and all our diminishing dramas.

 

 

JANUARY 22, 2003 OR THE DAY NASA SENT ITS LAST OFFICIAL SIGNAL TO PIONEER January 22, 2003 10

 

A budget crunch but cake for everyone.

Abandonment but words to soothe the blow: venerable, plucky, bold.

Deep space and unrequited beeping.

Some said feeble cry and whimper,

some said the shape of the probe squeezed from the tip

of an icing gun was nothing short of lovely.

Everyone had a slice.

_____

Donna Kane lives in Rolla, BC, a few miles northeast of Dawson Creek. Her work has appeared in journals and magazines across Canada. In 2000 she received the Lina Chartrand Award for poetry. Her first book of poems, Somewhere, a Fire, was published in 2004 by Hagios Press (Regina). Her second book of poetry, Erratic, was published in 2007 by Hagios. In addition to writing, Donna runs the Writing on the Ridge Reading Series. Kane hosts the literary portion of the Sweetwater905 festival and she currently teaches creative writing at Northern Lights College.

Northern BC folio curated by Gillian Wigmore.