Astronomy for Amateurs

Astronomy for Amateurs
2047 GMT, 02.27.09
30.542374 N, 84.438587 W

by Patrick Smith

(for Loren Eiseley)

Big Bang breaches the
membrane,
rushes into the vacuum.

Barred owl’s incantation
bruises dew gathering on grass.
The Pleiades come into focus
when looked at askance.

Words: elemental, essential,
nothing about things,
their own Milky Way.

When language falls away, swallowed
by the black hole’s raging silence,
souls sing and laugh.

We are tribal, heads upraised
to the dark, supplicants
seeking the shamans of the night.
Pine tops, fractal antennae
set against the horizon,
tune to the inexorable hum
of chaos. Orion’s there,
canted. Saturn turns, we know,
a speck of sand suspended
in pitch-black amber.

Everything surrounds us.

We spin in place, centripetal—
or is it centrifugal? And who can know
the dancer from the dance?

_______________

Patrick A. Smith has published book-length studies on the work of Jim Harrison and Tim O’Brien, and his fiction, poetry, interviews, articles, and reviews have appeared in Aethlon, Bookmarks Magazine, January Magazine, Quarter After Eight, and Studies in Short Fiction, among other academic and literary venues. He lives in Havana, Florida.

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