If space begins at an indefinite zone
where the chance of two gas molecules colliding
is rarer than a green dog or a blue moon
then that’s as near as we can get to nothing.
Nostalgia for the earth and its atmosphere
weakens the flesh and bones of cosmonauts.
One woke to find his crewmate in a space suit
and asked where he was going. For a walk.
He had to sleep between him and the air-lock.
Another heard a dog bark and a child cry
halfway to the moon. What once had been
where heaven was, is barren beyond imagining,
and never so keenly as from out there can
the lost feel earth’s the only paradise.
from Out There (Faber, 2012), © Jamie McKendrick 2012, used by permission of the author and the publisher