Stars, Memories, and Stories

Asked to describe the night sky
He recognized his deficiency
Not knowing summer’s stars
As he knew winter’s,
As if as a child,
Busy playing,
He failed to look up
At gifts awaiting him:
Myths and legends,
History of the universe
Slowly told by fading giants
Sending their stories
Through vast space
To his imagination awaiting them
On this verdant planet alone
Needing to tell tales
Nowhere else told.

Now they are clues for him
To be alone in the telling,
Truly alone,
An alone he once feared,
An alone he now embraces
Like that child embraced play
So inside the moment it forgot
To be remembered
And was better for the forgetting.

Venus shines brightest,
As always,
Gently reminding him of the sun
Now lighting the play of children
Forgetting to save memories
In other hemispheres
Happy,
As only children know.

The city is close enough
Its vast and arrogant lights
Hide the full story,
Though hints remain:
Like treasure hunts,
A glitter here,
A twinkle there.

He thought of Odysseus
Navigating the turbulent rage of Poseidon
By their lights
To return home to Penelope
Faithful weaver and unweaver of cloth
She’d only finish when his ship’s mast
Pointed to the sky that awaited them
Two old souls
At the end of their journey
Meant to sit together
Counting stars to measure love
Limitless, like the journey of a life
Lived inside the safety of hearts
That only know a story children can tell
Playing together
Memories forgotten
And better off for it.

Some nights fireflies
Are more than enough
Like tonight
Walking alone
His way finally lit.

Image: John William Waterhouse – Ulysses and the Sirens (1891)

The Melodies of Crickets

I think it was in between Carver and Dostoevsky
When I understood what Dylan Thomas meant by
The light breaks where no sun shines, so I
Found a heart where no beating had been felt.
The blood rushed back like a flood, heart raced
Like a youth chasing fireflies around a field.
My mind, its natural foe, tired from the fight
Sat down on the floor and said “You are right.”
This time, it was the mind who let her inside.
It opened the window to all of her ideas
And dreams and fears like it had a small racing
Heart of its own and finally met its counterpart
To fill it with the throbbing it had always felt.
She became my heart’s secret agent, so I sat
Down on the floor with all of them, undefeated,
But thankful for the rest. This red beast
Had carved respect by showing up every day.
But it fought dirty. All it did was sing.
A melody washed me like Ennio Moriconne
On a Mission to show how strong it had grown.
Its return to battle this time, like Thomas wrote,
Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart push
In their tides. Bones take on flesh. Soil proves fertile.
The candle finally becomes the fire it meant to be
All along. The tiny red heart the mind thought its own
Simply was my heart itself, infiltrating to be heard
Like the melodies of crickets wooing in the morning
When I finally woke up and chose to be.

Image: The Book Lover by Frantisek Kupka