Size / / /

For Tom Murphy

The previous owner built the observatory

and, when he sold the place to you,

donated the large telescope

to a university.

I picture students of the heavens

moving it carefully,

a sort of giant kaleidoscope,

as if afraid to shake loose

any stars still lodged inside

or rearrange captured constellations

in the wrong patterns.

Now the observatory stores firewood;

some you gathered,

some the earlier tenant left behind:

each log, its own package

of heat and light,

a small sun at the center.

I see you building a fire:

sparks escape from the logs,

climb the dark tunnel of the chimney,

seeking their place on the sky.

Duane Ackerson's poetry has appeared in Rolling Stone, Yankee, Prairie Schooner, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Cloudbank, alba, Starline, Dreams & Nightmares, and several hundred other places. He has won two Rhysling awards and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Salem, Oregon. You can find more of his work in our archives.
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