Sidereal Elegy

A poem

Time is in the details. Someone had to tell Polaris

it would not always be

the polestar. Important standard candle

though it was, eventually, vast ages hence,

Earth’s fickle axis would fix

upon another. Someday Vega would replace it,

though we would not name names.

Meanwhile, revolutions. Meanwhile, Stalined

or Styxed. Nightly we prayed for inertial guidance.

We lay awake thinking time itself would cry

to see the century it compiled, but all its tears

and mechanisms were sealed. The “Mists of Time,”

stapled between scare quotes! Come to me,

they whispered, and even the stars obeyed.

Alice Fulton’s books include Cascade Experiment: Selected Poems (2004) and the story collection The Nightingales of Troy (2008). She teaches at Cornell University.
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