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and now being slowly withdrawn.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.