I carried it to the edge of the cement walk.
It deserved me, I thought,

for how tirelessly I’d chased,
for the way I cared about its inner light.
A last look through the keyhole

of my cupped palms
and I set it down, then
stomped flat, smearing long with my toe

so the neon green spatter and jagged streak
glowed, brighter than before, as though
a spirit glad to have finally escaped its body.

With a stick, I drew a crooked star.
A diamond. And like a sickly dusk,
its ink faded, slow at first, then all at once.
I went giddy, innocent as a god.
Night’s oncoming chill

collected along my collar. I had no idea yet,
bounding back out
across the sighing, blue lawn for another,
no idea the suffering it would really take
in a dark world to shine.

Copyright © 2024 by Colin Pope. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 15, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.