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by Judith Valente
What happens, happens in silence.
We wake in a room your daughter painted
sunrise red. Daylight drips
through white linen curtains, feeds us intravenously,
Like Galileo with his scope
unearthing Jupiter's moons, we lie on our backs
on the white clay of our bed, chart constellations
of ceiling. That Y-pronged crack you call a ballerina
en pointe in fifth, her arms flung
above her about to slide into an arabesque,
I say is Christ strung upon his cross
moments after earth shuddered, temple curtain tore apart.
On a shelf in the living room
a brown box contains all that remains of your mother:
every pigment of bone, muscle, cilla, cartilage.
One day you will spread such fine matter
across the mining hills of Edwardsville,
the coast of Ventura, the prairie outside of Normal.
In soundless desert, astronomers discover new moons:
45 in the last six months around Jupiter alone.
There is so much I want to say to you
in a language without words. We orbit each other
like the moons circling Jupiter
in unconjugated space: Europa, Callisto, Leda, Ganymede, Thebe.
(First line is from "The Private Life" by Lisel Mueller)