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Fifty Candles Blown

By Sandra Yannone From Issue No. 2

And now the birds urge their first morning
calls to no one in particular but each other.
And now the light is cascading the sky
like a fearless vintage flash bulb.

In the next room she sleeps
still. The hours now since we parted
keep me awake, trying not to miss her,
but how can I help but not miss

all that she is when I close
my eyes as I miss the birds,
or the sun, or the deep night
sky pontilled with stars?

Under tonight’s planetarium, I’ve turned
fifty, and all this missing is
pitched at the same decibel level
as those years that stayed dormant

and screaming inside me, and yes,
it is high, imperceptible to the human
ear. And so instead I listen
to the tin of the night glistening

at 3 a.m.: the hum of her refrigerator,
the slam of a car door on her street,
the tulip petals free-falling
to her kitchen counter, the dream of her

breathing, breathing her dreams
behind her bedroom door. Earlier
on my candlelit night, I inscribed
The Book of Stars, fourth edition,

1926, because I am not tall enough
to reach my arms up into the night
and pluck the stars like surreal fruit
from night’s invisible branches.

I wrote that I have stopped asking
why, why we have become simply
like Jupiter and Saturn, fortunate,
oh so fortunate to sit next to each other

in the primordial order of this
particular universe. But it’s hard
not to wonder anymore
as it’s hard not to know why

after all this time we’ve clocked
together. Don’t get me wrong, friends,
it would be easier not to love her

except when it would be harder,
much as it was when I fooled myself
into believing that everything I saw
before the day I met her was real,

knowing now how those days
were harder, often filled
with some jagged, creamy ache
I could not put my fingers on.

And now the second my hands
touch any part of her they finally know
why they exist at the end of these
youthful wrists. So I’ve stopped asking

why and have learned to name
these moments for what they are
and are not, as astronomers
learned to turn their sights away

from their blinding discoveries
just long enough to name those planets
we now all take for granted,
as if they had always, always existed

above us, as below, we come
to love the ones we know.

About Sandra Yannone More From Issue No. 2