Spend enough time alone
and the difference muddies:
internal, external. Walking
the corridors of the ship,
walking through ideas—
chambers merely platforms
for lingering: a memory,
a possibility, choices
revised or pending. As if one
were one’s own homunculus
and the ship a larger self, though
that suggests a nearly infinite
regression of selves, a series
of Russian dolls with the merest
grain in the center: identity
reduced to an essential fact—
dust mote in an otherwise
sterile room.  That’s as good
a figure as any for this ship
wandering the vacuum
of space, the way the ship
catches star light, glistens
as it falls toward or away
from absolutely nothing
like itself.  In the cockpit
I linger with the idea of time
chagrined that the process
does not slow it, and where
I sleep, inhabit the notion
of alone, suspect it would be
little different in company.
At best, I find peace in how
these vectors answer each other:
ashes to ashes, dust to dust.