Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Astronomy in Chicago

I step outside.
Storm door closes slowly behind me.
I thought it was going to be warmer;
rub my upper arms as I shiver
Pause on the sidewalk just in front of my home.
Return inside to confused dogs.
Come outside again with a sweater.
You never know what you should wear
when the fuchsia roses start to bloom,
but it rains dreary nearly every day.

They said it was a once in a lifetime event.
Jupiter and Saturn would not be so close
for the next three thousand years.
There would be around 100 meteorites
streaking across the sky per minute
at the peak of the shower.
The eclipse would drape the moon
in a fiery red,
and it would be cartoon-huge
in the sky above.

Walk down the block.
Crane my Achilles neck,
achy after only a few moments.
Rub it with my left hand;
find no relief.
Which way is northwest?
Where is Sagittarius?
I don’t have binoculars or a telescope.
The sky is thick with unwelcome clouds and
orange haze from street lamps below.
I see the rooftops of my neighbors’ homes
and the black silhouettes of trees.
An insolent raccoon crosses my path.
Large drops spatter onto the upturned lenses
of my glasses.
The rain pours steadily now.
I put my hood over my head
and walk home with hurried steps and
hunched shoulders.

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