Tag Archives: August 18


Phobos and Deimos were raised this way, old
at the time. You were ancient at birth, Virginia,
what could they teach you? That helium

is the second most abundant element
in the universe? That you were the first real child
born in the Americas? The mixed births weren’t

recorded; the Spaniards took back only their gold
trinkets, syphilis, other souvenirs. Hydrogen,
combustible, unstable. Helium is inert

and unreactive, safe from the elements
in its tiny village. Both of you, alpha particles,
undiscovered at the time, and Phobos

in his orbit, looking down on you. I would have
stayed, Virginia. Did they give you a vote, at two?
I would have stayed, and carved your name instead,

and our descendents, daughters and daughters
down the line, might have lived to cast their ballots,
decades after Oceania, once the Croatan were dead.