Astropoetica: Mapping the Stars through Poetry

The Grand Design

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Credit: SOHO/NASA/ESA/F. Paresce (INAF-IASF, Bologna, Italy)/R. O'Connell (University of Virginia, Charlottesville)/Wide Field Camera 3 Science Oversight Committee/E. Gaskin

The main deviance was hope
from the beginning—most
Star collectors dream of rewards
before radiation addles
their memories, but she
Longed for the smallest glow of
starlight in collection jars
Preserved against tales whispering
Ends to the universe

While I, short-sighted, formless,
Saw nothing from the Beginning
But a faint warmth from Altair
within this jar, Betelgeuse
on the third shelf beside
Wolf 359 and Polaris
locked in a cabinet
till bulbs needed replacing,
Arcturus carefully lighting the cellar
where hid the jar containing the white
picket fence and double bottles
vacuum-sealing the two-story colonial, unassembled,
waiting for my yes.

The galaxy's core faded
Against the illumination of her hope,
I on my side of the Milky Way,
She on the opposite,
Spinning the rounded sides to each other
for a closer look
till we clasp hands, hold it still,
Hold it close against the gravitational collapse.
By a porch light filled with Sol
We watch from our swing
Streetlamps hosting children
Lit under their namesakes,
Rigel, Deneb, Ursa Major, and little Aldebaran
Night-racing their bikes with the Pleiades sisters.

We work from home now, she and I,
Fingers interlaced, breathing the firefly dust
Of the shawl and sheath of nebulae.


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Danny Adams is the co-author, with the late Philip Jose Farmer, of the short science fiction novel The City Beyond Play (PS Publishing, 2007). His shorter work has appeared or is forthcoming in magazines that include Appalachian Heritage, Asimov's, Ideomancer, Mythic Delirium, Not One Of Us, Paradox, Star*Line, Strange Horizons, and Weird Tales. He lives deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his wife Laurie, numerous animals, and a wonderfully dark sky for stargazing. This is his second appearance in Astropoetica ("On NASA's Discovery of 'Interstellar Chocolate'", Spring 2006).