Ways of Looking at the Universe
We wake to darkness.
Snow, a pall of freezing fog, ice
falling from the sky. But listen:
it’s the BBC—
Astronomers have learned to see
beyond the template of the Milky Way
and found three times more stars
than anyone imagined. Sextillions!
It’s problematic. Deeply unsettling,
the radioman says. Frankly,
it’s a monkey wrench thrown into
all we thought we knew
of when and how. So why
are you and I dancing in the kitchen now,
two small human flames
in all this light?
the bedroom window lit by snow
falling again, the cleared path filling—
I thought of you.
It’s morning now, and still December dark,
though four small candles light our sill
and there’s the fire. The string of colored lights
against the pane.
Against the pain this year we had infusions—
Our children came and went, joy
clinging to their dear tear-dampened sleeves.
We didn’t go to Scotland.
You know all this. It’s just the Solstice, I suppose—
that human urge to measure, reaching out
for balance. What I meant to say
is: count the stars. The brightest one
is you. Stay warm. Call when you can.
--Bette Lynch Husted