Stars Falling in August
Daddy, the stars fell when you died, skidding across the night
Like chips pealed from chrome, carried by burnished wind across the sky.
The creosote was drunk in the dry desert air.
And though I wasn’t there, I’ve imagined how you flew from your soul,
Leaving your daughters like thistles blown over the chaparral,
Our breath thin as the stems of the palo verde that grew stunted in the yard.
The house filled up with uncles. My boyfriend and I slept on a cot out back,
As we made love, the stars became silver nighthawks,
Fish tails swimming through the blinding air.
I was numb like the space between stars that are too stable,
Refusing to stray from the safety of their paths. I didn’t feel the meteors
Of broken glass falling to earth in silent breaths.
Daddy, thousands of stars have tumbled since then,
Streaking through the heat of a hundred nights. Each second
They have been in the sky, these variegated strands of burning air
Have burned open the portion in me that closed
More than twenty years ago.
Now nights stay sober save for the drink of starlight,
And the odor of yarrow and summer grass.
But the sky will never be shorn of star flakes,
Nor the earth of burning sand. The stars fell
When you died, carried by the wind luminous across the sky.