The stars don't dance. I do. Heel, toe. One-two-three.
I keep riddles like meteors. Look up, and, most often, you won't see
Those meteoric secrets for the clouds or the bright, distracting daylight.
But on a clear, isolated night,
When a cold front lilts in, they leap across our sky, a curse
Of pebbles let loose from the mouth of the universe.
Necessary dust, like percussion, they burn as soon as they hit the air,
And we, awestruck by their brilliance, watch them inevitably dare
To quiet entirely in their quick, two-timing arcs. Count them: one, two, three.
Search the ground, and you won't recognize what's left of them, of me
Strewn in cornfields, on rooftops, on shrinking glaciers
Far from the three-quarter moment we now live. And yet here,
Secrets are still sloping behind cloud cover across our moony existence.
The stars blankly stare. Meteors play the maddening music I dance.
— Anna Leahy
"The Stars Don't Dance" by Anna Leahy is featured in Constituents of Matter (2007, Kent State University Press) and Turns about a Point (2006). Reprinted with permission of the author and Kent State University Press.
Home page image: "Wegbereiter Ikarus," print, woodblock on paper, by Wilhelm Geissler, 1966. (Courtesy NASM)