To Silje

To Silje

This is night, my child. And this is the sky.
Not that daylight trickery of the sun
Blue, opaque and near.
This is the sky—this vacuous black
Distance tunneling through the stars,
So large. And you, so small

To be a maker of ritual: Each evening
When the windows are dark enough to show our faces
You announce we shall go out
To see if it is night. Inspect the sky
Which hides nothing, which opens in full bloom
Its delicate stars.

I think we are in love with those stars.
Together we search for planets. But each time,
I cannot watch for long.
An uneasiness draws my eyes down
Where I think a shadow moved.
The radar between my shoulder blades
Is tracking the approach of strangers.
My eyes on the trunks of trees,
Should a human form separate from the bark.
Love, my long arms have you covered.
I am on guard.

You watch the stars.


Published by the Wisconsin Academy Review, 1991