Escape from Orbit                                                                                            —Cybele Knowles

Sometimes you lace up your shoes and try to stand
and feel just like a mule wobbling under a rider,
like a baby whose neck is limp with gravity,
like anyone getting out of bed before dawn,
the forces that work against us then most palpable—
the wheeling of our globe around the cooling sun,
the spinning of our sun towards a corner of the universe,
inertia, which scientists don’t really understand
but think may be the gravitational pull of all the matter in the world
felt at once.
The other day I was carrying home
two big bags of groceries
when I ran into my grouchy girl:
she gave me an angry kiss and I felt
suddenly as light as music rising into a waiting ear,
as light as notes from that ear’s favorite song.
It was love. I don’t know how it works.

All I know is when you’re in it
you don’t feel the effort of life:
not the pain of a smile until you’re rubbing your cheeks,
not the strain of laughter until you’ve peed your pants,

and you really think you could fly.
Sometimes people are born with tails
or as conjoined twins, but never with wings—

that’s just a metaphor that love inspired,
that’s just how we speak of the sensation
of escaping from orbit.

Cybele Knowles

Cybele Knowles writes nonfiction, poems, and stories that have appeared in Devil’s Lake, Fairy Tale Review, The Destroyer, and Diagram, among other places. She’s the founder and editor of All-Girl All-Comedy Reviews, a blog reviewing comedic art by women, and the Instagram account Feminist Nikki Sixx. For her day job, she works as a writer and editor for the Center for Biological Diversity. You can find more of her writing at

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2016