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Sanfrancisco & Schall – May 2023

Daniel Schall and Jackie Sanfrancisco traded art and words. Jackie shared this video with Daniel:

In response, Daniel wrote this poem:

Pre-flight Announcements

Yes, we use a rocket. 

Still from this shrubbery maze
the only exit is one we burn.
Don’t blast the whole enterprise 
for this: once we traverse the inner 
planets, the solar system’s 
braided throat, once your toes 

touch dirt, the word alien 
loses its meaning, circling 
the edge of what it understands, 
like when you first heard
a red fox, shrieking 
near your porch in Pennsylvania, 
lingering where light 
nudges darkness.

We fuel the surface with breath,
our water split from acids and salts, 
habitats hewn from huge tables of glaciers, 
the morning sun’s egg-blue thumbnail 
scratching the spines of craters. 
No longer are undiscovered worms, 
squirming through that feral dust, 
crushed beneath wheels of rovers.

Surely you have waited 
your whole life for this moment.

Don’t screw it up. 
Routinely, we inspect 
all luggage for flaws 
of this world, rulebreakers 
dragging on board their vacuums, 
committing to paper their deeds
for slabs of Martian real estate. 

Keep your shovels stored in garages. 
Carve no new valleys in silicate crust. 
Just dream of those teeth
beneath your boots. Let fossils slumber.
Let storms of powder clothe you. 
Barely brush the planet’s skin, like hair 
drawn from the eyes of your daughter, 
who caps the bottle full of baking soda 
and vinegar, upturns it on its stake and wonders
which will make the other new.

* * * * *

Daniel shared this poem with Jackie:

Background of a Grayscale Photograph

The problem is ghosts are heavy,
she rages. They drag burdens
of past lives, lug around all that otherworld 

cement. You can’t say light 
as a ghost since you can’t say
what killed it. A strike of phantom 

cantaloupes, defying gravity 
and a desperate produce manager
chasing them, crosses me.

Thoughts like this condense. A stray
calico drinks next door, laps 
cavitating in her dish. Air and flesh in water

displace. Cinders. 

At night her voice reminds me of ghost
footsteps, a supernatural arc 
into the glassy registers—I called. 

Left a message
in your eye’s corner.
Hope to catch you next time.

In response, Jackie made this video, titled “BG Grayscale Photo”:

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