Astropoetica: Mapping the Stars through Poetry


For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. ~ Carl Sagan


Messier 78: a reflection nebula in Orion

Credit: ESO/Igor Chekalin, some rights reserved

Overnight earth’s hourglass
turns round spilling
ocean into sky, ancient starshine
against sea-floor black—
a radiant play of brilliants.
Just there a silent swarm of blue stars,
their nebulous cluster fixed over us.
Such quiet wonder only possible
because of the darkness.
We have been away from each other
for the sigh of a day.
Instinctively, my palm searches
for the length of your spine, fingertips
count invisible vertebrae and breaths.
In this canyon of distance
the ripening desire for home
hangs low enough to bite.
Instead I stare and stare
neck bends back surrendering my throat
to cosmic strands of pearls,
lost in all that’s defined by light and dark
knowing every single moment
something or someone is leaving
redshifting in elongated waves,
disappearing beyond the space they’ve known.
There is no warning, no siren’s wail
coming closer in alarm
then fading to an unhearable hum.
By the time the horizon dims, it is too late.
Unknowingly, one of us will be first
to say a last good-bye, moving on
inevitable as the universe expanding.

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Kelly Cressio-Moeller’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Boxcar Poetry Review, Gargoyle Magazine, Rattle, Southern Humanities Review, Pearl, and Pirene's Fountain among others. She shares her fully caffeinated life with her tall husband, two ever-growing sons, and their beloved basset hound in Northern California. She's at work on her first book of poems.