Worley Observatory, Shreveport, LA, August 2015
The hard-lit steel plant to the east soils
the once-pure, strict dark of the fields.
Where else to run away from home to but here,
this observatory that small-town dreamers
built atop a corncrib. Relic like us of the ’60s,
it draws dreamers still, hoping for a spectacle.
Conditions are as good as they get—
no moon, few clouds, even a breeze
to break the heat. Some stranger—
amateur astronomer?—says look to the west,
be patient, releases us to be girls,
to lie flat on dry grass, to watch the sky
for what comes: blinking planes, satellite flares,
heat lightning, the Milky Way … constellations
whose names we don’t know, so we invent them—
Sherpa, Boaz—dogs we mourn. Patience?
We have the patience of girls pole-fishing
with grandfathers deep in swamps,
girls whose stiff-fingered grandmothers spin yarns
endless as galaxies. We have the patience
to pray hard for a miracle.
Slash of a meteor so near, so bright, we startle.
Burned out too fast, too soon, even for a wish.
For Dorie LaRue