Skyhook by Herb Kauderer

Herb Kauderer

With Carlos’ plea for asylum granted
he stands in a polarized glass dome.
‘Truly a grand cathedral’ he thinks
and ‘it holds the tallest steeple in creation.’
He whispers a small prayer,
happy to be out of danger.

He stands with the other colonists at the base
and stares at the endless climbing conveyor
until up and down have no meaning,
only the motion of the skyhook’s cable
catching cars and conveying them
one direction on this side, and the
other direction in the parallel dome across
the concrete plain that surrounds
the tethered needle.

He boards nervously, leaving behind
the politics and persecution, but also
the people, the food, the language of home.
Sitting with backs parallel to earth
and legs stretched straight above
the high pressure train ride offers
nothing to see but endless tracks.

An announcement surprises Carlos stating
that the cable car is far enough from earth
that no vertigo threatens and seats are
now unlocked and permitted to turn.
Colonists view the disappearing planet
like an image in an art film of another dimension
where clouds swirl among white metal wasps
that scurry to escape the mist, buzzing
away from their hive in low orbit pavanes.

The trains stops as the opaque terminal, solid
except for a few sightseeing windows.
Getting off at the top
the universe no longer has a sky.
No planet, no tracks, no looking back,
there is only out.
The steeple points downward, but gives
no cause to look down at it now.
There is only out.
And that was all he really needed.


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