M31: Andromeda Galaxy

If I were to imagine Yahweh's throne
directly overhead (or, likelier,
out at the apex of our thinly known
Orion Arm), it wouldn't halt the stir
of sky in hemoglobin oxygen.
A reddened lamp hurls photons in night air
a toggle switch redarkens, yang and yin—
we sense another realm beyond Altair.
Unhampered, thank God, by an easy moon,
and peering at a smudge M. Messier
called 31, my eyes adjust, and soon
the finder scope stops at a live display:
Andromeda chained, left on a rocky strand,
the spiral galaxy in her right hand.

Copyright © 2011, Mark Blaeuer

Image Credit: Adam Evans, some rights reserved

Mark Blaeuer lives a few miles outside Hot Springs, Arkansas, halfway up a mountain. The house came with a nightlight, but he and his wife had it disconnected so they could enjoy their otherwise gorgeous view of the stars. As an interpretive ranger he has led night sky programs at three different parks (two in Arkansas, one in Utah) and solar programs at one. His poems have appeared in dozens of magazines over the past three and a half decades.