He says we are getting to the point
where we can see almost to the edge
of the universe, see the moment
when all that we know was created,
see gravitational waves cast off
by the collision of neutron stars.
She says that is all well and good,
but why can’t he see that he was
supposed to pick up milk and bread
on the way home, and that they
have to be at the school this night
at seven to meet the teachers.
And, she adds, you do realize
that you neutron stars collided
when the first flowering plants
were appearing on Earth, so
in all likelihood, you can’t
even blame the snake for it all.
Each night I stare up at the sky, scanning
for the one star that is there solely
to answer whatever entreaties I choose to make.
It is said that we each have a lucky star,
but perhaps, given the ever-expanding population
of the world, mine is just too dim to see
from the city in which I live, or perhaps,
I simply haven’t found it, and addressing
someone else’s star brings you nothing,
not even thanks from the lucky soul
who won the big lottery last week
all at my urging, I mean how could I know
it was their star I addressed with my request,
it isn’t like they wear name tags after all.
Still, I don’t give up trying, though
I often swear that Orion and Cassiopeia
spend a portion of every evening together
just laughing their celestial asses off at me.
She’s getting downright boring,
every night lying up there,
staring down when she decides
to part the clouds, saying nothing,
as though all of the words of praise
for her must come for us, unreturned.
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised
by her vanity, it is why, after all,
she is up there now, unable to move
and we have to accept that our words
are small salve to her when the gods
invert her, and she is left
to gaze down upon us in her mirror
when she bothers to stop
gazing at her own image, but she says,
“I have all eternity, Poseidon be damned.”
If you set aside the small fact
that earth is the only inhabitable planet
it’s fairly clear the cosmos gave us
a surprisingly bad deal when the cards were dealt.
It’s true that Mercury and Venus
got no moons, but it wouldn’t much matter
for they can see a sun we can’t
begin to imagine, huge and ever-present.
Even Mars, bloody warrior planet it is,
got two, and it got gypped in the grand scheme.
From there is a wealth and you can be sure
Jovians and Saturnians hardly know
which way to look to see a moon rise and set.
But we have the one, and it is frankly
rather boring, its primary claim to fame
being that it is just the right size
to blot out the sun every now and again,
but the sun never seems amused and quickly returns.
The perigee moon
hangs heavily over the city,
clinging to the horizon
as though it wishes to flee
deep into the night,
turning away the attention
in inevitably draws.
We are pulled toward it
by some deeply felt force
that we know we dare not
question, for we must
honor the moon’s secrets
as we hope she will honor ours.
You sit on your self-hewn throne
and stare fixedly at the night sky
as the clouds gather
and dissipate beneath you.
Do you even recall
why you were cast out
condemned to your cell so vast
and yet infinitely confining?
Does your body remember
the touch of his hand
the crude hunter
who set you aflame
with a white heat
that paled the oven of summer?
What do you imagine
as the tongues of the Persiads
lick across the sky
and disappear into the
ebony holes that lurk
in the corners and behind your eyes.
You move slowly across my world
and only the dawn brings you peace.
Sirius, you arise each evening. Your braying
washes the night sky, as though to daunt us.
There was a time we stood in simple awe
having no idea how far away you skulked
or of your immenseness, a cold dark point
that could barely illumine our occasional thought.
Hawking sits pressed into his chair
held in a gravity with a force of a thousand
suns, all pulling toward a singular focus
and witnesses your slow death
collapsing inward, downward into
your seat on the heavenly chariot
until the moment when nothing
can escape. Hubble knew you all
too well, chasing you across the sky
as you dodged flitting just out of grasp.
You are the coyote, hiding by day
to avoid the hunter, knowing his steps
across the mesa, hearing his footfall
reverberating through the void.
Einstein knew you all too well,
although he rarely glanced upward
preferring to stare through his mind’s
eye, dissecting you, cutting you
into neat slices then reassembling
you and placing you back on the mantle
of his limitless imagination. We no longer
fear you, or for that matter, much care
your color fades into whiteness
and you are lost like another grain
of sand on the beach of time.