Posts Tagged ‘stars’

One Infinite Night Stand



the night unzips

its long black dress—

a million stars slip out

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In China they call the Milky Way

the silver river, and tonight

at the top of the drive I launch

my starry canoe into swirl of it.

I notice I forgot a map. I notice

there’s more song out here

than I thought there’d be.

No edge in sight.

Please, you come, too?

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The miracle cannot be separated from the mess.
—Teddy Macker, “Christmas Morning”

Every time I connect the dots
I get it wrong. It never turns out
to be an image of a tree or a cat

or a happy woman. Always a mess,
lines scratched and scrabbled
and crisscrossed. And always

I wonder if someone else could
get it right? Could make a coherent
picture by connecting the facts instead

of this jumbled thatch of misdrawn
links and errant nexuses.
Oh this strange longing to get

it right. This urge to make sense
of separate points. There are nights
I stand beneath the moonless sky

and realize I don’t know how
to constellate the stars in the ancient ways.
And instead of trying to draw

the lines, I simply look at the stars
and notice how beautiful they are,
how unfathomable the space

that holds them, that holds
the woman staring at the stars,
holds even her longing to get it right.

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Remembering to Look Up

Night unbuttons its coat
and all those stars fall out—
I feel no need
to name them
nor order them
nor to measure their distance,
to calculate their age.
I still cannot find
the lines that others use
to link one to another,
but sometimes I sense
the invisible ladders
that link the stars
to you, to me.

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Let’s Not Give It a Name

dusting off all these
stars we’ve forgotten
to wish on, surprised
to find a new

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Two at Night

staring at stars
with these eyes made of
old stars


what is your address?
I ask my girl, hoping she’ll say

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That wind always tries
to undress me … today
it took my name, too.


It’s hard to be
serious when you’re kissing
my elbows.


What’s that? It’s only
supposed to have seventeen
syllables? But the sky today deserves at least twenty-five.


Erase the word mine
from these lips. Replace it with


Tonight the stars
are just stars, the lines that link
them all undrawn.

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five haiku

I could never say
what love is but often
I say I love you


you’re shy? it’s okay—
I can drip love from these words
instead of flooding


who says there is
only one sun? let’s think
vaster than that


falling through
the spaces between stars
a temple of emptiness


a velvet cage
is still a cage she said
scissors in hand

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As salt dissolves in ocean,
I am swallowed up in you
beyond doubt or being sure.
Suddenly, here in my chest a star
came out so clear it drew all stars into it.

—Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks, Say I Am You

Dear Rumi,

It is easy to believe that a star could come out so clear in your chest,
a star so clear it could draw all stars into it, but in my chest? Here?

A star so clear? I don’t think so. No wonder I stumble
each time I try to memorize this line. I don’t think this is humility.

Is it fear? Fear of being responsible to my own light?
Here in my chest my own heart is straining against the cage

of my ribs, pushing hard all the oceans of blood that stay
in the shores of this skin—some interior ocean I am afraid

to go swimming in. “Not past the tip of the nose.” That is what
my teacher says, and time and time again I feel how true it is,

and now, your words like rocks in my mouth, here in my chest,
the same lesson again. I have been dreaming of stars,

dreamt that they were being poured into my mouth, not just the stars
but the spaces between them. Are these the stars of which you speak?

My god, here they are, already they have been given to me, and I am somehow unable to see them, unable to believe my own experience,

unable to unwrap the packaging and receive the gift. Here in my chest—
but these stars are not for me. Not something to make me brighter,

but a light that belongs to everyone. All of us dissolved
into the same ocean, all of us dissolved in the same night.

I can almost touch this, and then it is gone,
there is still too much of me here.

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those wild geese
edging the clouds, my thoughts fly
beyond their wings


just one more row
I think, and knit one more and think
just one more row


the night pressed
its darkness into me, what
could I do but open


these ears
go on a long walk looking
for bird song


while no one’s watching
I trade all my molecules
with the night


did someone sow
all those stars, or did someone
trip and spill the bag


walking at two below
both questions and answers
come out as clouds

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