Stardust

“I stared up at the ebbing quarter moon and the stars scattered like a handful of salt across the faraway sky…” – Billy Collins

I love them, the astrophysicists,
with their multiverse theories and galactic models
and ways of explaining the stars.
I love to sit at their feet – a reverent toddler
in a room of buzzing adult conversation –
listening to them go on
in words I don’t understand
about black holes and dark matter,
the mechanics of space and time.

I of course have my own theories –
a vague belief that stars have hearts like ours
that swell as they exhale their hydrogen
in a small, sad sigh.

Because of course it would be sad, burning out
after ten billion years of watching time unfold.
Of course it would feel a bit like turning the TV off
in the middle of your favorite program.

I look out my window and see a flurry
of broken hearts poking holes in the sky –
hearts that have long stopped
beating in ancient chests.

I too have impressive abstract ideas.
A true observer of the universe, I’ve studied and
catalogued recurring behavior in a dream notebook.

Infinity, for example, likes to crouch hidden behind a nightstand
upon which rests a single book of poetry.
Love-struck, it plants a passing kiss on the hand of the girl
who reaches out in the dead of night
for one last conversation with Billy Collins.

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