Gas Crush

Three breaths, then you’re ghosting,
veins fractured with ice,
the delirious
sunrise—a burnt-out star,
swarming through purple cloud.

This deep into the gas underbelly,
pressure becomes narcosis,
just like diving.

Looking up,
pearl-necklace moons fade away,
their ethereal trail
the last tether to the floating dark,
and then it’s a kind of limbo,
between the crush
(a succubus pulling down on every limb)
and the wide, empty places between stars.

I’ve lost friends like that,
succumbing to the rush,
crumpled, spider fractures in the gravity well …

                                        … adds to the thrill.

—Samantha Renda-Dollman