by Justin Reynolds
There was some apprehension as a Chinese ‘Heavenly Palace’ fell to Earth last week. The 8.5 tonne Tiangong-1 space station, adrift since China’s space agency lost connection with it two years ago, made an ‘uncontrolled’ re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere early on Easter Monday.
Fortunately there was never much cause for concern, the European Space Agency calculating the chances of being hit by debris as ’10 million times smaller than the yearly chance of being hit by lightning’. Most of the station burned up on contact with Earth’s atmosphere and the remaining fragments plunged into the South Pacific. But the episode had a eerie resonance, symbolising something of the West’s prevailing perception of China as an enigmatic, technologically advanced state, glowing with – rather like its wayward satellite – a nebulous sense of danger.Continue Reading
by Jake Reynolds
Commander Coates of New Earth Transfers descends
from a helicopter’s exoskeleton and battles the gales
to signal Anna Garvey, protestor, handcuffed to the rubble
of a Wonder. He fixes goggles to his eyes, flashes his ID.
Don’t tell me, he says. You swallowed the key.
These streets have spent a year in the tinny grips
of radio screech. He tells her she’s going to catch
her death, and reaches in a pouch on his belt
for a halo of rusty keys. Drones stare from the helicopter.
Don’t tell me, he says. You’ve made up your mind.Continue Reading
by Alex Valente
Original Italian by Mariangela Gualtieri (1951-), from ‘Naturale sconosciuto’
The sky still holds us
does not expel from its rotation
this round home of ours
and we reach the final ledge
with light articulated by stars
no longer looked at if not to call
their name.Continue Reading