Comet Hyakutake's tail stretches for 360 million miles— in 1996, we saw Hyakutake through binoculars— the ion tail contains the time we saw bats emerge out of a cavern at dusk— in the cavern, we first heard stalactites dripping— first silence, then reverberating sound— our touch reverberates and makes a blossoming track— a comet's nucleus emits X-rays and leaves tracks— two thousand miles away, you box up books and, in two days, will step through the invisible rays of an airport scanner— we write on invisible pages in an invisible book with invisible ink— in nature's infinite book, we read a few pages— in the sky, we read the ion tracks from the orchard— the apple orchard where blossoms unfold, where we unfold— budding, the child who writes, "the puzzle comes to life"— elated, puzzled, shocked, dismayed, confident, loving: minutes to an hour— a minute, a pinhole lens through which light passes— Comet Hyakutake will not pass earth for another 100,000 years— no matter, ardor is here— and to the writer of fragments, each fragment is a whole—
Copyright © 2012 by Arthur Sze. Used with permission of the author.
Born in New York City in 1950, Arthur Sze is the author of nine books of poetry, including Compass Rose (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). He served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2012 to 2017.
Date Published: 2012-01-19
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/comet-hyakutake