TelescopeThe telescope case, blue and grey at twilight,
shivers its length under my hands,
large and cold and clumsy as a baby whale.
We're enveloped by velvet, wind, and stars.

The ultrasonic squeak as I push the case,
its pivot point screeching the calls
on the square National Geographic records
of humpbacks, black as their depths:

one song sung to find a lover,
eerie and liquid to those who cannot speak
with the tongues of whales.  The stars
reach out from pockets of light:  echolocation.

I lean further into the sky to catch
them on my lips, spicy and brown.
They sink through my unmirrored skin.
A school of clouds flash silver at the horizon.

Warmed by my hands, the telescope bucks up,
rolls over, pectoral fins pinwheeling, flukes
spraying reflected photons up in arcs.
In the kelp tresses of the Milky Way

a star breaches above the glow:  response.
Upward with the telescope I sing,
swimming my one song with constellation names
and heaving breaths in the ancient language of light.

Copyright © 2009, Mary Alexandra Agner

Image Credit: lyzadanger , some rights reserved

Mary Alexandra Agner is the author of The Doors of the Body and The Scientific Method (forthcoming from Parallel Press). It has been much too long since she stood beneath a telescope, sighted it on Arcturus, and counted photons from the stars. She can be found online at