The Explosive Expert’s Wife by Shara Lessley
Sky Gate: the abandoned observatory at Wadi Rum

The astronaut’s suit smells like spent
	gunpowder, the magazine says, meaning
the moon is the after-
		   math of war, or perhaps
	it’s the scent of satellites

orbiting long-dead stars. In a dark pocket
	of the universe we walked the wind-
shaped dunes that hissed
		   like cosmic ice. I thought
	I knew the limits of sadness

In this world, but the tent’s fibers
	glistened like a meteor’s pale tail and
behind the curtain,
		   I realized the veiled
	scope had kept its vigil

for some time, wide eye pointed
	toward Earth’s illusory dome. It would be
months before I heard you drag
		   your packed bag across
	our marble floor to catch

a red-eye bound for the city where
	the explosion’s embers burned for days
after the attack, before
		   the reporter on scene said
	the crew freed

the woman’s husband by detecting with
	a tiny machine his still-beating heart
as he fought for air. That night
		   in the desert there was
	nothing to stop us from

going in. We entered, undressed. If
	there’s a passage between this world
and the next, let it begin
		   in that dormant tent.
	Should darkness fall

I’ll meet you there.

To learn more about Shara Lessley, go to her author website by clicking here.

This poem comes from The Explosive Expert’s Wife.

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Below is a picture of the observatory.

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