Milky WayThe night's so peaceful under stars.
The house has settled down
to its foundations. Everyone's asleep
except the self-taught, who don't dare
close their eyes while the Earth turns
on its axis of evolving secrets.

What do I know about the Milky Way,
that fuzzy seam between black
speckled hemispheres of heaven?
It splits the midnight sky. Gas and dust
plus 400 billion stars – who
could memorize so many brilliant names?

But what's that light
at the east horizon? Could it be
a new neighbor's lamplit window?
jacklight, wildfire, UFO,
pyrotechnics sparking something
even more explosive?

Our globe turns so flammable
as it spins. What is
that, glinting eye-level through pines?
The round eye of the Hunter's
Moon? or one more light whose name
I need to learn?

First published in Weber Studies
Copyright © Taylor Graham

Image Credit: Jeremy Stanley, some rights reserved

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. She’s included in the anthology California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004). Her current project is Walking with Elihu, poems on the American peace activist Elihu Burritt, the Learned Blacksmith (1810-1879).