Arts & Culture

Orions Expanse

My husband and I are both active duty Coast Guard. am a female
electrician engineer and he is an electrician and engineer as well. From
2013-2015 we were stationed apart; He was stationed in Miami, FL and I
in Astoria, OR. To make things more complicated we were both
stationed on ships, so we rarely had even the ability to talk over the
phone. We mostly had emails. This poem is a reflection of how I felt
while being stationed 4,300 miles apart and separated by a continent as
he sailed the Atlantic and I sailed the Pacific.
That night in question, I was just exhausted physically and emotionally.
I had been out to sea for over a month sailing the Pacific. I was laying in
the flight deck nets looking to the sky while cooling off with the sea’s
breeze. ORION was absolutely massive and as bright as I had ever seen.
I was in awe. Before I hit the rack (bed), I chose to head to my workshop
to email him and tell him about ORION, and how I wondered if he could
see it.
The next morning, I checked my email to find that he had responded.
That night he was sailing the Caribbean. He was on the fantail of his
ship with his superior and he pointed out and actually mentioned how
big and bright Orion was. We were both under the same sky. With a
continent between us, he could see it too. And so, Orion’s Expanse was

To my dearest Douglas-

As we sail on separate seas,
I the West and you the East. My mind
Will only think of you. When
Will we meet again, it’s been 135 days and nights. Listen
to the ticking
of each second- one second closer yet gone forever. Waiting-
To ease the time, I work. Hard
Work in the blistering kiln called an engine room.
Blood, sweat, and lonely tears. I tend.
There, I tend to machines, when all I desire
Is to tend to you.

My Commitment.
to my Country and to you.
a duty we both share.

As I stand the watch, my relief is on its way. I grow eager
To pay reverence to the billions of glimmering stars that make me feel closer.
In complete darkness- They shine
Like my love for you.
Shooting stars cascading across a Milky Way backdrop.
No light pollution here. In Awe, Orion’s
Colossal expanse across the moonless sky.
My favorite constellation since childhood.
As I admire this universal magnificence, I find solace. I
embrace the massage of the ocean breeze across my face and body.
Overheated by a twenty-one-hour workday, the breeze cools my soul.
I can smell the aroma of salt air.
I am overtaken by the feelings this provokes.
Sometimes it’s impossible to distinguish between my tears and the sea’s spray. 

Could the sea be crying too?
because of the many who have been taken from their lives, some to never return and some so lucky. mostly men, but not this time.    

A continent between us, wondering
if you could see Orion in its most colossal state.
No matter how far, we
are both under the same sky.
My love for you beams brighter than any comet.
When we finally spoke of this night, by God, you saw Orion too.

Morgan Olsen 2017

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