For Laura by Jenelle D’Alessandro

After a historic but awkward comet landing, the robot probe Philae is now stable and sending
pictures — but there are concerns about its battery life. -BBC (11/13/14)

On the night when you were
born on the bedroom floor,

Philae’s journey had just delivered
ten years to the hurtling comet;

your daddy cut the cord while
a wall of seven paramedics assembled

in split seconds of silence; sister
slept in a blanket of quiet nearby.

I had oddly just Instagrammed a wall
of golden skulls from a cellar bar in San Diego

when the doula called to announce
your arrival. News outlets were reporting

an awkward robot’s comet landing: Philae
was pressed up against a hard wall of some kind.

Who would imagine how your mommy had
pressed palms and face to the hardwood

wall of the bedroom floor, the hour
you arrived? I wondered aloud as we

toasted from the table, in the shadow
of those gilded faces: the dust that we are.

Philae, close as Philia: I want to know –
could a comet
contain a memory?


Jenelle D’Alessandro lives and works in Los Angeles. She is working on
her first chapbook, a collection of homophonic 2nd/3rd gen. translations of
Whitman. You will find her on Twitter @freshgreenbeans and penning 50-
word reviews of contemporary poetry athttp://jenelle.ninja.