". . . every 33 years, a ribbon-like
swarm of debris trailing an obscure comet named Temple-Tuttle
passes close enough to Earth's orbit to produce a spectacular
display of shooting stars." AP news item

Here in Virginia, my other self—the one that's a writer
away at a colony, who doesn't have to drive for swim team,
help with homework, pack lunches—is lying on a Mexican
cotton blanket with a painter from the District of Columbia,
a New York composer, and a poet from Minnesota in the cold
damp night, too caught up in the wham-bang wonder
to go upstairs where her sensible bed waits in the dark,
too giddy with this razzle dazzle improv on the usual
nocturnal lullabye, a jazz riff played on night's
sweet black clarinet.

During the lulls between streaks and fireballs,
we tell stories in the dark, then gasp
at the one that streamed across the entire sky,
the one that glowed red, the one that whizzed and hissed.

Meanwhile, back in Pennsylvania, my quotidian self sighs,
checks that her alarm is set, tomorrow's schedule ready,
clothes lined out, and rolls over for two more hours.

First published in PoetryMagazine
Copyright © 2002, Barbara Crooker

Image Credit: Larry Lo, 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.