May Support Life
Double the size of the Earth, 600 light years away,
Kepler 22-b has the climate of a balmy Key West day.
Fleck on a telescope, wobbled light in a star’s pinprick,
caught like a small bee in the snare of a child’s net.
In the artist’s depiction, Kepler 22-b looks modest,
embarrassed, even—cloud-swirled sky bowing down
at a tilt in the painted nebula. NASA named it after
the telescope that found it.
If I had a planet, I would
resist the urge to name it at all. My planet would drag
moons to it like great weights at the ends of large coiling
chains. Its years would last days and its days, years.
The oceans of my planet—there would be only oceans,
no land—would slither with possibility and pull back
and forth with the tides of many, many moons. And with
each grand, sweeping arc around its sun—which would
also, of course, remain nameless—my planet would pick up
speed—enough to hurl itself out of the solar system
and toward a planet blinking in the distance behind a lens
the size of a skyscraper—a planet staring up, taking notes,
looking for a new habitable zone as the end hurtles dead ahead.
Alyse Knorr is the author of Copper Mother (Switchback Books, forthcoming 2015), Annotated Glass (Furniture Press Books, 2013) and the chapbook Alternates (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hayden's Ferry Review, Denver Quarterly, ZYZZYVA, Drunken Boat, and The Southern Poetry Anthology: Georgia (Texas Review Press, 2012), among others. She received her MFA from George Mason University. She serves as a founding co-editor of Gazing Grain Press and teaches at the University of Alaska Anchorage.