Featured Poem • June 2016
Beings of Air
The beings of the stratosphere, Wispy conglomerations of archaea and fungal spores Loosely connected by tissues we can’t detect, Disperse into pieces and come back together To share the memories and pains of each microbial part. When complete, they dream of the air high above Free from chaos, of the sky beyond the turbopause Free from deadly winds, from constant collisions, Air that will caress, that will let their particles Come close, stay together. No more need to stretch the strands that bind them, No need to wait on winds to reunite a broken body. The beings of the exosphere, Rare and dilute, live diffuse lives Of rigorous stratification Seldom seen, rarely meeting others. Thoughts are slow where cells are so spread out, But they imagine a sky below the turbopause Of quick thoughts and many interactions, Life mingled and moving and, most of all, alive.
A runner, writer, reader, teacher, and parent, Daniel Ausema has had his fiction and poetry appear in many publications, including Strange Horizons, Dreams & Nightmares, and The Pedestal. He is also the creator of the steampunk-fantasy serial-fiction project Spire City, which is in its third season. He lives in Colorado, at the foot of the Rockies.
About “Beings of Air,” he writes: “The exact mix of influences that led to this poem are lost to me. I do know that it drew inspiration from Italo Calvino’s pseudo-scientific stories of Qfwfq. Calvino is a definite influence on a lot of my poetry and shorter fiction, but in this case it was especially pronounced as some sort of Wikipedia-trail of writerly ‘research’ led me to learn all kinds of details about the atmosphere. The information about the various levels suddenly crystalized with a Cosmicomics sort of a-scientific telling, and the poem flowed straight from that moment.”
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