Learning the Sky

Stuart Greenhouse


Arcturus a little west, Vega a little east
now, 1:30, and here, 40 north. Should fix the door
so it squeaks less, but the wind tonight
means the noise won't carry.

Clear, and the streetlights, down the street
even as lane buoys, mark
one element from another. Can't see past them,
I mean, to Arcturus falling west

like everything over the Earth falls west
by the thousands, drifting like pollen
down a river. Our car, under our streetlight,
furred thick with the stuff: its hood, its roof,

its windshield opaque. Endless germ, spun
out of old branches, living sediment
over everything; the circumference
of each streetlight pale green.

Weighed down by illness, bed-bound years now,
I'd thought to travel by learning
the sky, but I can't
see past home,

all this stone and metal and carbon
the same as that fire and gas and rock
falling west up there, except for our rising
from it, or trying to, each of us, our little while.