Today I’m an astronaut. I need to shuttle beyond
the orbit of my block. I launch east from my home
planet: turning left, then right. I cycle through
a few green lights, making sure to stop by the house
with a train-shaped Little Free Library.
Trains also travel to car-free universes.
I discover a Golden Nature Guide to American
wildflowers; its pages smell like milkweed.
I continue down the road, past the old movie theatre,
wondering if the sky was clear on opening night
for Lilies of the Field all those decades ago?
Pretty soon I see the path veering off to the left.
I bike high up on the levee trail, beside the creek
below. The breeze is light. The trail brings me
to the Anacostia, and cormorants roost
on the branches of a river birch tree.
I imagine people returning to swim here once more.
I imagine the mussels under the water’s surface
currently filtering out bacteria and plastic.
I take a deep breath. Circadian and bike—
cycles align in a new constellation.
Are there groundhogs on Jupiter? Do the Pleiades
shine with the fragrance of wisteria? Today’s
mission will not take me more than 10 miles
from my door. And yet, when a cluster
of six-foot-tall, prickly-stemmed musk thistle
seemingly bolts up out of nowhere,
with lime green and fuchsia flower heads
nodding in my direction, I know
I’ve somehow invaded another cosmos. 

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