the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Kelli Russell Agodon

Letter to a Companion Star

Astronomers looked 8,000 light-years into the cosmos
with the Hubble Space Telescope,
and it seemed that the eye of God was staring back.

     —Editors from National Geographic on the Hourglass Nebula

When the doctor said,
We're only delaying death,

I forgot words and let nebulae
answer. I wrote letters
to the hospital, but did not ask,

It's all make believe, isn't it?
Instead, I saw my father
as a constellation.

When the doctor said,
He needs a miracle,

I thought my Big Bang theory
(how the world came in a Cracker Jack box)
could use some direct evidence —

funnel and horseshoe, shoe-boot
and ice skate, the old metal prizes
released from heaven.

Nebula. Nebula. Death tremor.

When I was a child, my father pointed
to sky, said, Our glass overflows with stars.

There isn't anything more we can do.

What's not half-full, but fully shattered?
Maybe I should have believed
someone was looking back

between two halos of an hourglass.
Letters went unanswered —

Aren't we always delaying death?

I did not ask. A dying sun.
A smaller star hidden
in the glow of another.



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