Leonid Meteor Shower

Two hours before dawn, huddled in a sleeping bag,
I am waiting to be dazzled by a sky in which meteors
are supposed to be falling thicker than snowflakes,
a thousand per hour. But overhead, a blanket of clouds,
even though no precipitation's in the forecast, even though
it's been clear for weeks on end. The next time this fire
will rain from the heavens, I'll be eighty-nine, not likely
to be sleeping out at night. So, I'm waiting. I believe
they're out there, spanning the canopy, messages from beyond,
fireballs and blue streakers, cascades of shimmer, streamers of ice.
But all I see is a blank page, a murky aquarium, a dim colander.
I keep hoping the clouds will part, that I'll get a glimpse of them,
top hat and tails, tapping out a show full of silver sequins,
flaming batons. But it's a washout, a celestial fizzle,
not a single falling star to wish on, not even one that twinkles—
Still, the mystery of the night surrounds me, the hush of the planet,
our wild whirl through the stars, and the east turns yellow and pink,
as morning wipes the slate clean, a whole new show.

First published in Streetlight
Copyright © Barbara Crooker

Night Glow, by Jeff SMallwood

Image Credit: Jeff Smallwood, some rights reserved

The author of more than 600 poems published in over 1775 anthologies, books, and magazines such as Yankee, The Christian Science Monitor, Smartish Pace, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Nimrod, The Denver Quarterly, The Tampa Review, Poetry International, The Christian Century, and America, Barbara Crooker is the recipient of the 2007 Pen and Brush Poetry Prize, the 2006 Ekphrastic Poetry Award from Rosebud, the 2004 WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the 2004 Pennsylvania Center for the Book Poetry in Public Places Poster Competition, the 2003 Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, the 2003 "April Is the Cruelest Month" Award from Poets & Writers, the 2000 New Millenium Writing's Y2K competition, the 1997 Karamu Poetry Award, and others, including three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, twelve residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a prize from the NEA. A twenty-six time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, she was nominated for the 1997 Grammy Awards for her part in the audio version of the popular anthology, Grow Old Along With Me--The Best is Yet to Be (Papier Mache Press). She is the author of ten chapbooks, two of which won prizes in national competitions: Ordinary Life won the ByLine Chapbook competition in 2001 and Impressionism won the Grayson Books Chapbook competition in 2004. Radiance, her first full-length book, won the 2005 Word Press First Book competition, and was a finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize. Line Dance, her second book, is newly out from Word. Garrison Keillor has read fifteen of her poems on The Writer's Almanac, National Public Radio.