Sweeping the Night Sky
NaPoWriMo #20 – the hero poem
When the sun set on warm asphalt driveways,
I stretched out lanky kid legs to watch the stars blink
into existence, sometimes one by one,
sometimes in a symphony of firefly lights.
This was a childhood of star dreams,
of telescopes, of constellation maps,
of listening to time whisk past my ears
in the stillness of summer night.
In dreams I climbed ladders to sit in
rickety metal chairs at the base of giant lenses,
eyes to the night sky, cold at the top of hills,
giant-geared watch-works moving below me.
To me it made sense to watch for what was
not there, to try to intuit the unseen and
work it backwards into an existence of science.
It made me real to feel so small as to be a
bit of dust on the mirror of everything.
And so I snuck quiet into the labs of men
too busy to notice an intrusion of a quiet child,
too preoccupied with the huge to notice the miniscule,
too far-seeing to mind what was adjacent to their elbows,
and I watched the numbers and equations flow
from pens and pencils to notebooks, to scratch pads,
to painted walls. I etched their obsessions into my memory.
And when the men burrowed down into the bases
of large radio arrays, I imagined it was me instead,
straightening the records of the milky way gramophone,
putting another sliver of the moon back in the pie plate,
sweeping the night sky to make it orderly for the
next generations of those who dream.