The bright burn

by Jennifer Jerome

Lake Vermilion, cold night sky
caught in its clear net. You call
the stars out by their true names,
summon the Milky Way: a slim twist
of cloud, over a thousand thousand
stars. Dizzying. I huddle down
on the dock and breathe in
hard, palms riding the rough
wood, fingertips digging
into the one solid thing I know
until your gentle arm backs me.

We watch and watch until
even our bones are glazed
with starlight and wind. You catch
my hand in yours; we stumble
back to the cabin. The dark
rooms swallow us up, the generator
exhausted hours before. Our eyes still
see the bright burn on lush black,
starred water stretching out to trees
shortened by distance and glimmer.

Copyright © 2005, Jennifer Jerome

Milky Way over a lake: photograph by Lorenzo Comolli

Copyright © 2004, Lorenzo Comolli

Jennifer Jerome is a native New Yorker. When she was little, she wanted to eat the moon. She is still hungry. Her work previously appeared in Astropoetica and is forthcoming in The Pedestal Magazine, The Comstock Review, Poetry Motel, Chiaroscuro, sidereality, and Aoife's Kiss.

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