Although the comet scarring

the night sky lacks authority,

it instills a certain frisson

that shivers us to the bone.

You think it’s the nib of

a giant fountain pen filled

with sparks and glitter while I


would describe it as a dagger

already thrust in my heart

and now being slowly withdrawn.

Staring into the summer night sky

from a pasture aloof in the hills,

we agree that we’re too small

to impress ourselves on the cosmos.


That’s just as well. The egos

of those who try to master

the universe soon enough slacken

and hang in baggy, unflattering

folds of slobber and lard. Their friends

aren’t friends but sycophants.

The comet doesn’t influence


the tides or trigger earthquakes

or ignite acres of wildfire.

It’s too tepid to cast shadows,

and lacks the fixed textuality

we commonly attribute to stars.

It’s only a fist of pure ice

dropping debris like roadside trash.


Still, it brazens across the sky

night after night, its presence

impossible to ignore, the track

of its long ellipsis engraved

to intersect our lifelines

at six-millennium intervals,

allowing us time to escape.

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