He recanted. His mouth was full of stars, but he
took away the telescope. He pressed his hands
together, folding away his history in order to save his future.
They let him live. Another day, another month.
Inside the woman’s body, the cells stack together to form
a new constellation with double helixes; a new
rotation in between her torso. She didn’t know she was
with child until she walked outside, and realized he was right
about the sun. The earth went around it, like the child went around her.
She was not the centre of the universe anymore.
He went back to research. Another day, another month–uncaught.
Then he was. She visited him in prison. They talked all night
until the blue faded to pink faded to blue again. “Our paths are our future,”
she said. “Together, we’ve created something new.”
“Anyone can do it,” he argued. But he folded his hands & stared up
at the sun while she went away. Between bars, he didn’t pray.
They let him live another month. Then another. Until there were nine.
When his son was born, he remembered his theorems. His formulas.
His wife became a cluster, her body full of craters made
with new life. Together, they had a future. A baby had a name.
So when he didn’t recant before a judge, he did it for the future’s sake
of a shadow-boy he’d never meet again, but always understand
in the lines of DNA and when his wife looked at the sky.
illustration “Crabtree Watching the Transit of Venus” by Ford Madox Brown, By Manchester City Council. – http://www.manchester.gov.uk/townhall/venues/murals1.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1900925
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