Staring at the stars, I imagine you vanished and dispersed in that unreachable clarity of light. They glisten, sharp and cold, vast distances apart yet coming to their marks the same time every night of their season. The seasons slowly move, carrying their forms— I recognize so few: Orion with his belt dominating winter, a wobbly W, the dipper’s angled box and handle, each bright dot individually jeweled there. Nothing there is fixed, not even that clear star that seems always to point just one way as it speeds farther and farther off. All of them are whirling on their separate paths, circles and ellipses, poles of radiance that spread the dark. What can be made of that? If you are nothing now but memory, the stars seem a proper home. Long after the sun swells to disperse the earth, they’ll change as you have, light vanishing with time, light beyond the reach of light itself. Staring at the light an explosion sent from some place nowhere now, I know it will outlast whatever I become. Imagining its end, I see it moving still when nothing can be seen and we are both nothing everywhere.
Copyright © 2019 Don Bogen. This poem originally appeared in Poetry Northwest, Winter & Spring 2019. Used with permission of the author.
Don Bogen is the author of five books of poetry: Immediate Song (Milkweed Editions, 2019), An Algebra (University of Chicago, 2009), Luster (Wesleyan, 2003), The Known World (Wesleyan University Press, 1997), and After the Splendid Display (Wesleyan University Press, 1986).
Date Published: 2019-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/night-sky