Astropoetica: Mapping the Stars through Poetry

Astronomy Lessons

Southeast, mown meadow glowing
in the dark under sprinklers still running.
We ask Marc what the blue star is, right
overhead. Orange one, west; red one, south.
He can't tell us
anything at first. Maybe, studying
some tiny speck of sky—Mercury crossing
the Beehive Cluster?—he's forgotten
how the heavens look at night. It's Judy
finding the Big Dipper; Polaris
behind the tall pine. Light
through the glass door makes
the stars seem small.

Judy and I on the couch
trading words, writing short poems
in the dark. Laptops open, in our
blue shimmer wafting: tiny black
bugs have followed us in, miniature crows
crossing two finite, rectangular skies.
I imagine wheat sprouting from my
icon dock. Vega, Marc coming in
belatedly to say, Arcturus, Antares.

A week of calamine and benadryl—
red constellations glowing
up and down my arms in light
of day. I've named them: Keats,
Eliot, Pound, Shelley, Homer.

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Casey FitzSimons’ poetry appears in print and online in The Newport Review, Hobo Camp Review, EarthSpeak, The Prose-Poem Project, flashquake, Leveler, and others. She has been a finalist in the River Styx and Writecorner Press poetry competitions. She has collected her works annually in chapbooks, most recently No Longer Any Need (2011) and Altering the Lay of Land (2010). She taught art in San Francisco for many years, publishing her studio drawing book, Serious Drawing, with Prentice Hall, and reviewed many exhibitions for Artweek. She has a master’s degree in Fine Arts from San Jose State University, and is a frequent reader at San Francisco Bay Area venues.