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Leonid Meteor Shower
by Barbara Crooker

Two hours before dawn, huddled in a sleeping bag,
I am waiting to be dazzled by a sky in which meteors
are supposed to be falling thicker than snowflakes,
a thousand per hour. But overhead, a blanket of clouds,
even though no precipitationís in the forecast, even though
itís been clear for weeks on end. The next time this fire
will rain from the heavens, Iíll be eighty-nine, not likely
to be sleeping out at night. So, Iím waiting. I believe
theyíre out there, spanning the canopy, messages from beyond,
fireballs and blue streakers, cascades of shimmer, streamers of ice.
But all I see is a blank page, a murky aquarium, a dim colander.
I keep hoping the clouds will part, that Iíll get a glimpse of them,
top hat and tails, tapping out a show full of silver sequins,
flaming batons. But itís a washout, a celestial fizzle,
not a single falling star to wish on, not even one that twinklesó
Still, the mystery of the night surrounds me, the hush of the planet,
our wild whirl through the stars, and the east turns yellow and pink,
as morning wipes the slate clean, a whole new show.


First published: Streetlight








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