Sometimes at night, I sit out on the porch.
If there’s rain, I watch the fat drops
making crystal crowns
at my feet.
If the sky is ebony
and the stars have abandoned the sliver of a moon,
I watch it, marveling at the silver crescent I see
and imagining the rest, hiding in plain sight.
If I’m lucky,
the Constellations come out to play.
I squint at the sky
finding the ones my mother taught me.
The Dipper, just like the blue speckled one that hung
in my grandma’s kitchen.
We lifted it from the nail on the wall and drank deeply,
never worrying about who had a cold or who’d
washed their hands.
Only that we returned it to its rightful place.
There’s Orion the Hunter, his belt buckled tight,
his bow at the ready,
relentlessly stalking the Pleiades,
those seven beauties leaping across the heavens
ever out of his grasp.
Keep dancing, girls. He’s no match for you.
It’s late but I stay, pulling my bathrobe closer.
Then I see her: Venus.
Not just a star, but a planet in her own right.
The only one named for a woman
and what a woman at that!
the color of burnished coals.
Damn, isn’t she something?
Look! my mother would say.
Isn’t it a wonder?
All that going on up there
while we’re way down here?
Yes, I say to the sky. Yes and yes.
Susan Frederick is a third generation Washington native and a UW graduate.
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