Narrated by the man through his grieving process, In Orbit uses a variety of innovative forms to explore loss, from traditional stanzas to prose poems to shaped poems in the form of birds, circuits, or hands. The narrative shifts in time, moving from his teen years to the present day when he himself has become a teacher. This book does not ignore that teaching is hard work, and in grieving over the death of his own mentor, the narrator finds himself rudderless.
The book not only grieves the loss of the teacher, but also toxic standards for boys and men. In Orbit demands that young people to be given space to explore their feelings without judgement, to be free to love others, and to love themselves. Beyond human communities, however, sustenance is found in the moon, the stars, the sky, and nature. The discovery of a badger’s track or the treasure of a bird egg reminds us how small our trajectories are in the context of the more-than-human: an answer perhaps to the grieving process.
Ultimately, In Orbit is a deeply moving account of losing a person you love, but not shying away from remembering them. A sustained narrative of love, loss, and longing.