Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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On Learning That I Can No Longer See the Stars

This is the way it is, losing almost everything.
A great grayness pushes in from the peripheral.
Then a doctor asks a question, and suddenly
you realize how ignorant you have been, even of yourself.

So I wait for darkness. I go out in the backyard
thinking of the early astronomers. Like them
I carry all of my biases into the human experiment.
Squirrels, dogs, every suburbanite revving a tiny machine.

To test this hypothesis, I will take only wine and lawn chair.
I will affix myself to the fear of my afterward, my fear
not of death but of diminishment. To lose the little things
first, when the little things are whole planets and suns,

gods to primitives, constellate of old familiars that gave us
season and passage beyond dead reckoning. And the light.
The light. And the grand unknowable distances between them.
If I could only see but one slender leg of Virgo, the maiden,

then I could sleep knowing she was still watching over me.
Anything more than just Spica, her brightest, but hopefully Spica
too, whose name, delivered in Latin from the Mesopotamian
valley, meant ear of grain. One connective breast point to hip

is all I ask of she who is sometimes the daughter who hanged herself
in grief. And is sometimes, in later Roman and pagan myth, associated
with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Earth mother of the Christ. But night
has fallen. No sign of her. The wine has taken me a long way out.

Adrift on the sea, clutching a cord of knotted rope from my raft.
And nothing comes but darkness. And nothing is and nothing was.
Perhaps it was just some bit of overcast from the latest depression.
But I can find no luminescence, no coordinate to return my faith

to what was known or whatever might be. It’s all so solipsistic.
Whereas I could have been drinking this whole time with my lover.
We could have offered some summer-sweetened profanity to heaven.
For if ever I wanted to see the moon, she would move my face right into it.  

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