From the Porch of Madonna della Salute

Robin Wyatt Dunn

—for PD Mallamo

Abuement and abut; she’s mighty. Stretched right over a quarter light year the surface of the event horizon here in our center; shaking our mast.

I send the probes down into it and we watch them shimmer over its surface like small wings, cutting into its damp. Flickering.

“She’s a beauty,” she says, and I say, “Yes.”

Yes she is. For one thousand years we’ve been approaching her and performed all kinds of models, sent in scouts, listened to transmissions, even spoken to a species who has penetrated it, written of it in poetry, sketched in amber and basalt, sung and performed, made movies of it, written under its bough, but still nothing compares to the vision we have of it now, under its doorstep, watching it shake.

We live beneath fifteen miles of metal so it isn’t as though our naked eyes behold it, but this is the closest.

One quarter of one light year—maybe two trillion kilometers—under her cheek.

Suddenly she throws up a storm, and we’ve been seeing them for weeks, months, years, but now we’re right underneath it, facing as Turner the implacable face of Atlantic god, superhuman stunningly on met and sanded geodesics curling out of the starry rainbow mirror of it, cutting into our metal and through the phosphorescent cameras which die and are reborn giving us our visuals:


She shivers like a woman, this window into galactic center, horizon Pacific, delimited delimitless ocean, our door . . .

White blanks the eye and we move under its ejection, iota spundicular in the gassy eruption; bacterium through geyser; I blink.

“Whee!” she says, and I kiss her.

I shouldn’t have done it, but I did it. Our city shouldn’t have come, but we did. More insanity is hard to mention; anything more absurd; anything.

The dimpled mat of a sea god; river god; naiad filled with a righteous anger, unreachable, erotic, and mighty:

She wavers and then I see a probe re-emerge from her, Orpheus out from Hades, and though it is destroyed we get a burst of data and our physicists cheer, weeping, looking over the parabolics for the right equation to mark our entry point.

Holding on to the lyre.

Robin Wyatt Dunn lives in Los Angeles. In 2017 he was a finalist for poet laureate of his city. This summer he released his new science fiction novel 2DEE.


  1. I suppose this is how we’ll communicate from now on, the oblique reference in the extraterrestrial journal w/ galactic vibe. OK from this horizon. Loved this piece true. All love &,


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