Note: Astronomers recently announced the discovery of the gas phosphine (PH3) in the upper cloud deck atmosphere of Venus, Earth’s closest neighboring planet. Phosphine is considered a “biosignature” of life. Its discovery suggests that oceans might once have existed on Venus. Further study could show whether Venus was once habitable and/or whether our definitions of life might vary. https://astronomy.com/news/2020/09/astronomers-spy-phosphine-on-venus-a-potential-sign-of-life I know I am not alone in tossing questions into the night sky while I stare at star-spangled orbits. Microbes hide in clouds near Venus. We do not know anything more, yet joy of company dazzles. Once some able swimmer might have sliced through bluest waters like a seal, then dried off beneath a moon. Her tiny boat ferried her toward an island filled with mica that glittered like a volcanic halo Maybe she held a curved pale peach shell in her palm, placed it against her ear, heard an ocean’s echo. /////////////// Mary K O’Melveny, a retired labor rights lawyer, lives with her wife in Woodstock, NY and Washington DC. Mary is the author of “A Woman of a Certain Age” and “MERGING STAR HYPOTHESIS” (Finishing Line Press 2018, 2020) and co-author of the Hudson Valley Women’s Writing Group anthology “An Apple In Her Hand.” A Pushcart Prize nominee, Mary has received award recognition for her poetry, including First Place in the 2017 Raynes Poetry Competition, the 2019 Slippery Elm Literary Journal Contest and the 2020 “Poems of Political Protest” Contest sponsored by City Limits Publishing. Mary’s new collection “Dispatches From the Memory Care Museum” will be published later this year by Kelsay Press.