On earth as they are in heaven, stars
scatter like early dew on the grass,
the new leaves. Light like frost
on the scallion-green skin
of the observatory's dome. Inside
we deflect our breath from the eyepiece
or rub hands together slowly. Mars
glimmers, the bloodshot white
of an epileptic's eye, Earth's
heat and shimmer changing
what's real in Poughkeepsie.
We could go to the desert,
we could climb Mauna Loa,
we could fire new discs of helium
to see the planets as they are.
It's late in the brickscabbed rooms,
our desklamps starring windows
the color of light sweet crude.
Night sounds--an owl's killing pillow,
the meteor of a vole--
are paned away, remote and slow,
the sleepless moons
of gas giants.