It is said by people adorned in white coats,
expertise hanging off them like white lights
flickering on the confer trees, that mice and starmen
only succumb to the white taste when denied access
to the companionship of others, when freedom
and interests are deprived, when the sun and stars
are hid, the lid closed, the maze too well known.
Astronauts know what the scientists in white coats mean
they once had a smile as worthy as any
no worse than most no better than the least ‑
but that smile
came at a cost and the payment
when it came
took that smile and flung back into the cosmos.
It hangs there still, orbiting forever,
a slipper frozen…if studied, the shimmer
of a dance can still be discerned, listened to
the joy they once held perpetuates itself out loud,
crying into the void that they might one day return
though they can never stay no matter how hard
it is desired— for permanence is
the fluid state of letting go.