Ode to Carl Sagan
by Kelsey Hutton
Through black felt tunnels of space he sends them
on a mission: prime numbers like arktic doves.
athematics, the universal language.
Headphones half on, he spins the dial through miles
of wavelengths, searching
quick and tired as ever.
Four fifths of each day he looks for them:
Straining his ears, he hears
something, a murmur in the static; then
his shoulders hunch again. He’s only picked up
the others, orbiting his office, joking
with narrowed eyes about little green men.
He knows these nucleaists well: bathin
in cold war cash; clenching their gaze
to the microscope, one hand always fighting
the twitch, the itch to test
the mad, red button.
A simple touch, a finger tips
and the jolt of contact,
would melt a million bodies
like wax; the same touch that can bring lovers
to a ginger, quivering climax.
Numbers sing like music to him, leaving him
a galactic inukshuk pi. At the end of the day
cheap headphones leave rings around his ears.
He longs to be found.
So he streams another ream of zeros and ones
into galaxies, jealously guarding hope for his planet
like the hair-tearing parent who can’t quite believe
his cracked-up kid
will make it.
Featured Poet of the Month Kelsey Hutton
Kelsey Hutton is a Métis author from Treaty 1 territory and the homeland of the Métis Nation, also known as Winnipeg, Canada. Kelsey was born in an even snowier city than she lives in now (“up north,” as they say in Winnipeg). She also used to live in Brazil as a kid. Her work has appeared in Analog Science Fiction & Fact, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Augur Magazine and others. When she’s not beading or cooking, you can find her at KelseyHutton.com, on Instagram at @KelseyHuttonAuthor, or on Twitter/X at @KelHuttonAuthor.