The night is blue and staggered with stars.
Like you, I’ve tried to connect that one to
that one to that one to see the shapes that men
mapped ages ago, the Swan, the Archer pointing
his bow, but all I see are wayward rhomboids,
a leaning top hat, a celestial three-legged
insect the size of a country. Clouds
are easier, a lion, a bearded man, a lamb
bleeding into mist. We just want to recognize
where we are. Today was a good day or
a bad day. There are bills and laundry and
the thing your lover said and what you wanted.
If you stare a while the stars bounce in place,
nervous, and suddenly you wonder what
happened to all the ghosts in your second grade
class picture, wonder why you wonder…But what’s
more important than the constellations? War?
Your broken dreams? The sink that swallowed
an earring? Tonight look up the light that left
Monoceros so many years ago. You get dizzy.
Is there life out there. Are there beings
like us. You too have scanned the tabloids
in the racks by the register, the blurry photos
of aliens with narrow heads, with no mouths,
with long arms and dangerous instruments
or telepathic powers, with pale skin, with scaly skin,
translucent skin or no skin at all, who’ve landed
always in remote woods, who’ve left carvings
on cave walls in Mongolia. But not one
says it. Not one headline proclaims we are
alone: THE ONLY CONSCIOUSNESS IN ALL
THE UNIVERSE AND IN ALL TIME. And tonight what if,
what if we are? If we are a mere cosmic fluke. Or worse,
if we are so singly precious. I know you’re just trying
to get by. Have stepped outside a second into your blue
body, to breathe, to trace the Little Dog constellation,
to watch the blinking halo of your TV from the wrong
side of your own window, and behold
the living absence your shape alone will fill.