POETRY May 7, 2021

First Date with the Asteroid that Killed the Dinosaurs

The theater seats won’t fit his shape,
so we trade the movie for outdoor dining,

where I pour mint julep down his crevices.
                             So, uh, what do you do for fun?

Instead I ramble about Gaston Bachelard
and his obsession with houses, how I’m terrified 

aquariums will shatter and the Great Whites
will come swallow me whole, how corn

belongs on pizza but pineapple doesn’t.
What’s home like for you?

I learn about his siblings shaped like
Scooby-Doo pasta, how he always dreamed

of leaving his orbit and becoming a lawyer,
the sun’s chain-smoking problem.

                             Do you like being spontaneous?
I’m swept into space and he buckles me

in Orion’s Belt, teaching me to trapeze
swing, weightless. When we’re both tired

and my spacesuit feels crowded, I stumble
against his ridges, crawl into a dip and sleep

off the whiskey. Too long embracing him
and I smell like something I can’t explain,

how I imagine melted pears smell.
Have you ever done something you regret?

He’s silent, and I almost tell him how
Apatosaurus means “deceptive lizard,”

how my favorite movie is Jurassic Park,
how I dig for bones in every patch of sand.

Instead I smile and tell him Jupiter’s
glow really brings out his eyes.

                             We’ll save that for the second date.
He carries me home, curled against

his surface like a nautilus shell,
propelling into Earth with a force that

shatters all the historic churches.
He kisses my forehead and turns

to leave, but I pull him close and we
spend the next hour snuggled like that,

counting fire trucks by their siren sounds.

Katie McMorris is a writer and dancer. She lives and teaches in Indiana.