Spring 2011 • Vol. XXXIII No. 2 Poetry |

The Point at Which My Wife Enters a Poem about the “National Geographic” Cover Story (November 2009) “Are We Alone?”

—by which it doesn't mean in the bedroom or dining room, but the universe. The answer is a demi-hopeful "possibly not," although whatever other life exists Out There in the pettipoint billions of planet possibilities might be no more than a gelid smear that quivers in light and quiets in the darkness, or a philosophically minded gas. We've come far, from the need to see our Terran selves as singular—as "God's elect," and central in His cosmos— to a people simply hungry for companionship and, naturally, curious about our neighbors … even if by neighbors I mean theoretical beings twenty light-years off in space. That's the distance of Gliese 581d and Gliese 581e: is that where life is, liquid and almost-familiar? Something swimming with electrical vim and means of reproduction in an alien but not-so-alien H20? The planet with atmosphere trailing behind it cometlike, a bridal gown with the train on fire. … The planet with acetylene lakes. … The planet entire

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Albert Goldbarth has been publishing collections of poetry for over four decades, two of which two have received the National Book Critics Circle Award. His latest, Selfish, was published by Graywolf Press in May 2015. He tests his patience by living in Wichita, Kansas.

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Wrist Beep

By Albert Goldbarth

—by which it doesn't mean in the bedroom or dining room, but the universe. The answer is a demi-hopeful "possibly not," although whatever other life exists Out There in the […]

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