on the first cold night of late summer;
numb stars shivered to shed their light.
There’s Orion, you said,
and that’s the Big Dipper.
And I saw every word inside your breath,
each a point on a map leading home, marking
slow corners that rolled in spirals of fog.
You missed some, I thought.
Look closer. There are more.
“While millions of stars tried desperately
to shine,” I wrote so many years ago,
when Desperation was just a pretty word
batting its eyelashes across a crowded room.
Today we’re old marrieds; we barely speak,
declining politely across a breakfast table
divided by a lifetime of shared secrets
and matters far too simple to discuss.
It’s cold again as I search for another
dim midnight stage on which you’d speak
with eyes turned skyward, show me the way back,
chase away the D-word
for one more night;
meanwhile I squint up at idiot scribblings of
spoons and torsos, appalled that the gods
weren’t better artists than this.
I’m through with stars; done.
Talk me some new ones.
(first appeared in Etchings #8)