App to the Stars [poem] by Scott Edward Anderson

Dedicated to David Simpson

I can’t see the stars tonight
in cloud-cover and city night glare,
so I double-tap on my night sky app
make missing stars revealed.

Virgo hiding behind the corner
of my apartment building;
illuminated, first in outline,
then sketched in white-on-black:
woman holding back nothing,
at least until she fades from view.

Moving my iPhone to the left
aiming just below horizon,
the Moon appears, unrisen.
Swinging my view to the apartment
above, Ursa Major hangs, looming.

Back down from ceiling to floor,
I see the sun, a good eight hours away.
Man, there’s a lot of space junk up there:
rocket bodies and satellites.

But it’s a series of random names
and numbers—a cypher, a type of code,
indicating stars we’ve shared our universe
with for eons, fascinates me most:
NGC5466, KRAZ, PCEN, 17CRT.

Now panning with my phone facing me,
spinning around and around the room
swinging away, from start to star-
dizzying with every swipe, every turn.
My head full of stars, planets, galaxies.

 

Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

[Refer: This poem put the editors in mind of David Simpson’s poem “Life Guard“]

Image by Brian Tomlinson

Scott Edward Anderson is the author of Fallow Field (Aldrich Press, 2013) and Walks in Nature’s Empire (The Countryman Press, 1995). He has been a Concordia Fellow at the Millay Colony for the Arts and is a past recipient of the Nebraska Review Award.