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To Asteroid Miner, in the Lobby of Central Spaceport Rasalas

You stand there: strong, barrel-chested, honest

(or so those who commissioned and installed you

would have us believe.) Did you know, back then,

that you’d be abandoned, die on the same little planet

they plucked you from? That you would be forbidden

the very future you promised? Men like you

are waiting, beautiful and forgotten and cruel

on their backwater spheres, clinging to your lie,

which they have always known to be false, but hope

for anyway, since holding is easier than change,

no matter the damage they do in so doing.

Did you know, then, that you would greet and witness

only those who, like me, find themselves in your spaceport

as avatars of everything you (and they) aren’t? I love you,

I find myself saying, as if you could hear, as if I could

reach those who, emulating your lie, refuse to enter the future

they have because it is not the one they were promised.

This love—in spite (or perhaps because) of the knowledge

that your promise could never be delivered—is yours.

And I like to think someday they will let go and join me

and find some comfort in the world they find, as I do,

meeting you, and, in you, seeing them among the stars.

Tristan Beiter is a queer poet and speculative fiction nerd originally from central Pennsylvania. His poetry and criticism have previously appeared in such venues as Strange Horizons, Chicago Review, Liminality, Abyss & Apex, and the 2022 Rhysling Anthology. When not reading and writing, you can find him doing needlecrafts, crafting absurdities with his boyfriend, and yelling about literary theory. Find him on Twitter and Bluesky at @TristanBeiter or at his website

Radon Journal Issue 6 cover art
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