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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 5: October 2020
Prose Poem: 332 words
By Kelly R. Samuels

Waiting for Tiangong-1’s Reentry


We’re in the hotel lounge, having come together for a Christian holiday, though holiday seems like the wrong word for something as somber as this—the dead time, you say. We’re now in the dead time. The time, too, when a space station falls, or more precisely, plunges uncontrolled. All they know for certain is that: nothing will fall outside of 43 degrees from the equator, north or south. Beyond that—an exact location for debris, for tanks made of metal averse to burning—is still guesswork. This isn’t being televised on the two large-screen televisions above the bar, being where we are. If we dropped a pin, we’d see we’re in the safe zone, far, far from that kind of danger. So, it’s only of mild interest—this and how others, too, have returned in this way, one even striking land, though not ours, and no one was injured unlike that other—the one they say must be said to be one: an uncontrolled entry, a splintering and breaking apart leading to all seven dying. Some of us remember that more than others. The search for debris that took weeks for having been spread, shed, they say, over some 2,000 square miles. This, here. And that, there. And now this. 84,000 pieces, including the crew’s remains. In a field, a man knelt and wept. Though we know none of this will touch us, we can’t help but feel a sense of foreboding, more so as the lounge empties early, the hotel guests returning to their rooms and others leaving by the door held open by another paid to do so. Even the table server brings us a free drink—a mistake made, she says. When we finally go and stand out on the cobbled walk, some of us look up. The moon is about as full as it gets and called blue, and stars can be seen. Somewhere, someone could tell us, it continues its quick descent.

Kelly R. Samuels
Issue 5, October 2020

is the author of Words Some of Us Rarely Use (Unsolicited Press, 2019) and Zeena/Zenobia Speaks (Finishing Line Press, 2019). Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and have been published in Salt Hill, The Carolina Quarterly, The Pinch, Juked, and RHINO. She lives in the Upper Midwest.

Author’s website: https://www.krsamuels.com/

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