Future Astrophysicists of America, or, Children Staring Into a Void – Anna Laura Falvey

When I was young, I stood on the hole
in the museum floor. The black seemed
unspecial, the dark inconspicuously final.
I stood and I watched the museum swallow
itself — a world inverted, knotted, suffocated
and gone.

I watch

a little girl over the mouth of false infinite,
stepping lightly, drawn to it, I think, as I was
and am. She stepped onto it, stood for a moment,
and jumped:
a joyous and angry jump, shattering and powerful.
All ears rang and the stars rattled and then quieted.

a green shirt boy steps, steps off, steps again, falls,
and runs.

a boy and girl, slightly older, apprehensive, unimpressed.

a dinosaur shirt boy, dressed for the occasion, stood
and stared and jumped, knees high, power drunk.

a yellow dress girl stood stock still then took her doll, the softness
of which was evident, and placed it in front of her. She placed her
hand on its head, blessing, and pressed down, down until the body
was as flat as it could be. She did not push it through to the other side.

a final total of hard jumps: 9

a boy with a dragon backpack backed definitely away
and walked carefully around.

a father, two sons, and a daughter wrapped together
balanced on one foot to fit.

a tranced, straight-backed, crane-necked, silent, tank-
topped, fuzzy-sandaled girl stood for two tall minutes.

a buckled-sandal girl tipped her doll upside down
as if dipping her head systematically into a glass of milk.

a girl in a white ballerinas’ skirt inches
forward until she jumps off.

a girl in a peasant blouse stood anchored,
stepped off, reconsidered, and left.

a sister hoisted a brother into the air
and he was weightless, tethered, looking down.

a boy in a shark shirt, thumb in mouth, sat
next to me, tapped on my shoulder, and said,

“look up.”

Anna Laura Falvey (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based poet and theater-maker. In 2020, she graduated from Bard College with degrees in Classics & Written Arts, with a specialty in Ancient Greek tragedy and poetry. She spent her college career blissfully hidden behind the Circulation and Reference desks at the Stevenson Library, where she worked. Anna Laura has been a teaching artist with Artists Striving to End Poverty since 2019, and is currently serving as an ArtistYear Senior Fellow, teaching Poetry in Queens, NY where she is the resident teaching artist at a transfer high school. Her work has appeared in Icarus Magazine as well as in issues 15, 16, & 17 of Deep Overstock.

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