1623 c/o Joe Kapitan


A companion ascends; this I watch from afar. Why can I feel no joy? Why must I see all things cast in shadow of their trajectories? I am sorry, Maffeo. I blame my instruments. They have ruined some part of me that was better in the not knowing.

In my telescope I had been watching a star brighten, week after week, surpassing its neighbors. Just when I believed it might consume those near it, it vanished altogether from the night sky. It is gone, Maffeo. I have verified this. From the numbers, I knew of its distance, and from its distance, how long its light had travelled. My friend, I tell you this truth – when it appeared to me at its most wondrous, it held a terrible secret.

It was already dead.

In halls of marble they will whisper to you. They will surround you in golden robes and golden tongues and speak of the kingdoms and peoples that are now bound to you, and you will resist what they say until you have grown accustomed to the gravity of your thoughts, the pull of your words.

You will awaken one morning in the warm fingers of dawn and believe that you commanded as much from the sun.

It will feel no different to you, that first day of your undoing.

To distant lenses, you will still look magnificent.