Two small asteroids pass earth safely
this week – NASA headline
She stalks them for a living.
Even if she lives a hundred lifetimes,
she knows it’s unlikely she’ll ever
see one target earth.
NASA’s chief flycatcher,
she jokes to friends,
as she chases balls all over
the cosmic outfield.
Her job spans the solar system—
to spy a grain of sand
in the astral sea.
The orbital mechanics,
tidy and Newtonian,
speak for themselves.
No miracles…just time enough,
to stiff-arm it out of the way.
Yet when she surveys
the crazed orbital landscape,
and imagines objects approaching,
large and largely immovable,
she thinks of their rock-hard
lack of empathy.
The side that never gives an inch.
The side that—once the ball’s in the air—
Numbers, she whispers to herself,
that never lie.
And then in that intuitive shiver
she knows so well,
in that moment beyond science,
beyond anything Hubble’s eye
spies at the universe’s ends,
she wonders, Are we—we on earth—
the asteroid that never misses?