It was an ordinary August night in this sterile suburb by the sea,
cloaking the claustrophobic day with a dark flat curtain
that did nothing to dispel the woolly air that, thick
with the unshed tears of heaven, clotted even as I breathed –
but better to be outside than choked by the clutter
of witless air-conditioned conversation.
I dragged a chair across the lawn and settled into in the almost-silence,
punctuated only by the buzz and hum of hungry things with wings and
the snuffling of the neighbor’s ancient dog, freed for his nightly tour of
duty round his postagestamp enclosure.
I sat smoking and thinking, trying to figure out how a life once so fully,
freely lived had narrowed to the confines of a holding pen whose only
exit leads straight to the slaughterhouse.
These uffish thoughts spun round the cul-de-sac of my brain
until I wanted to shout and stamp and tear my hair out by the handfuls.
Then, unannounced, the ancient hero loosed his minions, a shining
army of footloose cosmic miscreants that blazed across the sky
in the most beautiful disorder imaginable.
Like crazed schoolboys held for detention and finally freed,
these glowing pieces of the stars that made us raced and frolicked,
spinning, tumbling, showing off their colors.
I jumped up and ran along the perimeter of the yard,
following, until, winded, I stopped, lit a cigarette –
then anotherandanotherandanother, making my own sparks,
wanting to be one of them, watching until the sky returned to the staid,
empty blue it had been before, all the while hoping when I hit
the slaughterhouse, my indestructibles will find their way to wherever
Perseus is camped so I can enlist.