Who’ll herd the creatures of the constellations
across the prairies of the night sky
if we disappear like dinosaurs into the mists
of archaeology?

Who will name them? Who’ll call them
Crab and Bear, minor or major? Who’ll domesticate
The Lesser Dog, The Little Horse, The Wolf ?

Who would think to inscribe imaginary lines
between anonymous outposts of hydrogen
and helium exploding in the vast stillness
of galaxies where no thing breathes,
just to make something of nothing?

Who’ll nurture the illusion of them; The Hunter
and The Hunting Dogs roaming in fields
of sprouting nebulae pocked with ditches
of dark matter circled by clumps of cosmic dust?

Who’ll imagine The Lyre and The Painter’s Easel
placed to serenade the inhabitants of utter space,
and poised for the artist who’ll paint their portraits
in a vacuum?

Who’ll inscribe The Eagle on the crystal spheres?
And who will dare to sic The Lion on The Dove
against the wisdom of The Southern Cross?

Who’ll scan The Octant with an octant
to navigate chaos upon the back of The Phoenix
if we insist on clutching The Scorpion
to our breast?

Who’ll project all the things of earth upon the heavens
if we continue to
be seared by the blazing breath of
The Dragon?

Jim Culleny; 2008


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