First Day of Astronomy Class

As a child, my mother had recanted
memory of a time when she had
been quiet enough a bird
had landed on her finger.
I had done the same,
curious to see if I could copy
her success in stilling my mind,
and to my amazement
a bird did set near enough.
The fluttering of the wings that day
matched my youthful heart
and made my imagination
soar with lofty thoughts.

So much older am I now than then and,
I had no intention,
as I descended the stairs,
Winter biting at my ankles,
to my classroom
in the basement,
of catching any small bird.
The threshold barely welcomed me
as science is a precise art
and rusty poets do not humbly
figure for the brightness of stars.

I quickly found a desk, I felt,
was most calming to me,
and watched as new classmates
filed in with anxious faces,
finding space where they could,
each caught in their own tune.
This one boy was more exacting
as he calculated the perfect seat,
our gaze collided with one another,
and he procured a fetching smirk.
Directly, he would come my way,
and light the seat beside me
stealing one more look upon my face,
as I pretended not to notice.

As we would start our starry lesson,
I beheld only my pen,
but I would catch him watching me
as I took notes and learned.
What beauty of the universe we observed
thousands of galaxies,
with colors more vivid than any painting,
more systems than could ever be named.
Forgive my asking, Mon Cherie,
but why should you attend to me?

My bird, I would not linger here,
the universe is vast and open,
yet of all the places you could choose,
you chose to settle here.
Even brightness of the moon,
and sun with magnitudes of negative numbers,
would not illuminate the heavens
enough to show my wandering eyes
to behold your fragile frame
and startle at your feathers.


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