Fran Schumer, Weight


At the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan
we weighed ourselves on different planets.

On the sun, we were enormous; on the moon,
like balloons, we weighed nothing at all.

The Zeiss Projector, massive and steely,
a monstrous Tyrannosaurus rex

ready to pounce, illuminated the dome
in eerie violet, pink, and gray.

They had to carry me out.
It wasn’t the machine — my fear

was the sky, vast and inhuman
empty except for tiny dots,

spectral flecks of white, artificially lit stars
unfathomable distances away —

I feared that unmoored, I might float
forever upward, no one to catch me

Me, having no weight, no mass,
no central core to tether me to earth.

Fran Schumer is a journalist and author. Her poetry has been published in The New Verse News, Hole In The Head Review, Contrary, and Sparks of Calliope. Another poem is forthcoming in Prospectus. In 2021, she won a poetry fellowship from the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing.

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