I had a blueprint of history in my head — it was a history of the martyrs of love, the fools of tyrants, the tyrants themselves weeping at the fate of their own soldiers — a sentimental blueprint, lacking depth — a ruled axis X and Y whose illusions were bearable . . . then unbearable . . . In that blueprint, I wanted to speak in a language utterly other, in words that mimicked how one of Homer's warriors plunges through breastplate a spear past breastbone, the spearpoint searching through the chest like a ray of light searching a darkened room for the soul unhoused, infantile, raging — but my figure of speech, my "ray of light" — it was really a spearpoint piercing the lung of great-hearted Z who feels death loosen his knees, the menos in his thumos flying out of him — the fate of his own soul to confront me beyond the frame: no room, no X, no Y, no "ray of light," no menos, no thumos, no Z — only sketched-in plane after plane after plane cantilevering upward and forever throughout space.
"Blueprint" from Space Walk. Copyright © 2007 by Tom Sleigh. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.