Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Dangerous Astronomy

I wanted to walk outside and praise the stars,
But David, my baby son, coughed and coughed.
His comfort was more important than the stars

So I comforted and kissed him in his dark
Bedroom, but my comfort was not enough.
His mother was more important than the stars

So he cried for her breast and milk. It's hard
For fathers to compete with mothers' love.
In the dark, mothers illuminate like the stars!

Dull and jealous, I was the smallest part
Of the whole. I know this is stupid stuff
But I felt less important than the farthest star

As my wife fed my son in the hungry dark.
How can a father resent his son and his son's love?
Was my comfort more important than the stars?

A selfish father, I wanted to pull apart
My comfortable wife and son. Forgive me, Rough
God, because I walked outside and praised the stars,
And thought I was more important than the stars.

Credit


From Face by Sherman Alexie. Copyright © 2009 by Sherman Alexie. Used by permission of Hanging Loose Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Author


Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene poet and novelist, was born on October 7, 1966, on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. He received his BA in American studies from Washington State University in Pullman.

 

Date Published: 2009-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/dangerous-astronomy