Night of Telescopes

Night of Telescopes | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

This salted paper print of the moon was produced from collodion-coated glass negatives—taken by John Adams Whipple and James Wallace Black with a telescope in 1857. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I have buried my share and hardly anyone knows.
A house must hold ghosts, writing
Names across funereal woods and windows
Good for viewing the lingering past.
This night of telescopes fixes the cold
October sky—a Saturn so delicate as if
Sketched by moths holding to nearby stones
For their lives. The sutures of the moon drift
Into sharpness and a man points to the inevitable screen
Another haunt in this dim garden where voices ride
Across pines and the invisible fountain locked
In the same little song. Here is the Sea of Crisis
And I would recognize its expanse anywhere
Having visited often, even beneath my lids when I disappear
At night to visit with a father who no longer knows me
Or the dead who always do, and glow like the rain or a rose
Finished with the business of becoming. I can’t say the worst
Because I’ll keep living it. Machine of the mind. Belt
Of the hunter. I can spot his patient blade from either coast—
The one where I drown the one where I love the one
Where I keep rowing through the blaze and the black.

Emma Trelles teaches at Santa Barbara City College and programs the Mission Poetry Series. She is the author of Tropicalia and winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize.
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