No pay

Shooting stars aren’t stars that move for you, so don’t wish on them. They’re meteorites that fall into Earth’s atmosphere. Burn into a white flame-out. Some were warm-blooded (that’s how we got here). Here’s what happens: A solitary spark of light falls through a black opening into the vacuum of space, the great space between the worlds blackbird wash – and disappears in an incredible burst of sound and speed; it’s not going to stop for anything, exultant at being on the loose lightcurves – then one day Bang: it enters a new limbo – twisting just past us, opening wider to gulp in more and more sky, straining to draw itself back in its hole (these prayers became the soil shined off the seen wind) – before we – two hundred and seventy miles below it this whole time – hunt it down. For now, it bears the curse of discovery. All we had to do is dig in the area for some fast cash, huge tires webbed with chains, a power winch, densely packed teeth, bone saws, shotguns in the crooks of our arms, the Don of rocks. Until it’s ratted out, jutting rawboned out the soil. To it, we are a figure holding a bloodletting instrument. It will simply be carried off – how sharks go limp when inverted – asking for the sky and get Plexiglass, like a Christmas decoration hanging vertically with its mouth open, bathed in a halo of light, preserved by means of chemical injections, feeling as though it belongs to no one and everyone all at once, and hate everyone to the bitter end. At ShowWorld, each skeleton-meteorite bears a label of identification, a rating: R. Signs gleam a conspicuous white, remind you to be respectful and not take photographs. They can be loved to death by visitors who accidentally break things. Of course, for some, all this is just a lure, and they saunter smilingly toward the rock like it’s a timid animal who enjoys being petted. “STOP” the signboards warn, same white fever. They swear up and down, the closer to the altar they get, sizing her up, love-struck. Spotlighted, propped up like a living-dead doll, sits and takes it. You can stare at the dead with an intense, close-up curiosity the living would never tolerate. They don’t know she’s wrapping her arms around herself, that no pay could ever be enough.