Astropoetica: Mapping the Stars through Poetry

Light on Another Planet

I like being awake all night and diving
into bed in the blue-black dawn
but what a shock to open my eyes
to noon air, pale as egg shells:
the first snow has fallen.

Rime outlines each lump and rill,
old footsteps in the mud, disheveled
sprays of grass. The cat by the window
cries at the sparrows hopping
in the withered garden.

At dusk, the fallen snow
looks like crushed and ground starlight.

Maybe another planet's sun is ice
and radiates blue-silver light
while our fire star radiates gold and orange.
To the inhabitants of the planet with the blue sun,
gold is strange. They revere flickering orange

and the skin of their statues
is not white, lucent marble
but copper, polished every morning
to glow with unworldly shine
beneath their ice-bright sun ball.

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Laura Long previously lived at McDonald Observatory in far west Texas with her husband, an astronomer. In December 2013, after years of research, she published The Eye of Caroline Herschel: A Life in Poems, a chapbook from Finishing Line Press. This collection includes the poems in Astropoetica and also poems nominated for a 2014 Pushcart Prize. Her first novel, Out of Peel Tree, was published in April 2014. She teaches at Lynchburg College.