Milky WayAt night he'd go looking.
First the orientation of Vega, Deneb,
repositioning his mental map
until it aligned with the familiar things
he found in the darkness.  Then he'd go on
trying to let some trickle
from a million years ago
find his retina.

He had buried his father
five years ago, ten,
who had been the constellation
Drunken Sailor.

Wonder, then, that the world
was so vast, its sky so far away,
and such an impossibly small thing
as a fleck of light or a boy on the ground
can be seen at all.

Copyright © 2011, John Philip Johnson

Image Credit: Phillip Chee,  some rights reserved

John Philip Johnson has work recently published or accepted by Rattle, Southern Poetry Review, Euphony, Ruminate, Dreams & Nightmares, among others.  He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife and five children.  He can be reached on Facebook or at and would be glad to hear from you.