The Stars Say We Belong
by James C. Henderson
The stars are pinned in their places.
Not a single one has been lost or added.
Orion glitters in his belt of jewels.
The Big Dipper spills her mouth of black sky
into the never-ending river of black sky.
The earth still spins on its axis
through the vastness of space around the sun.
All the planets dutifully follow their orbits
and occasionally line up to vibrate
as a mysterious, harmonic force
then break up and drift home, like after a really good concert.
Spring still turns to summer, then fades to autumn, winter.
The moon goes through its phases
as the snake sheds its skin, swallows its tail.
But tonight I feel things are different.
It’s not the earth that has changed direction.
Time still ages, I’m going to die—it all ends badly.
But tonight, here in our encampment
as we try to keep warm, feed ourselves
go to the bathroom, clean our clothes, dry our bedding
organize, organize, organize
when I look up at the stars
I don’t curse them for not allowing me to fall amongst them
or for leaving me behind, finite.
In the constellations I don’t see the old myths
but make new connections.
Our circles around the sun, our cosmic cycles
are no longer a monotonous, boring routine to me.
Tonight, gravity has a purpose.
It holds me to a place I want to occupy.
James C. Henderson has published poetry in a variety of literary journals including Haute~Dish, Double Dare Press, 42opus, and Poetry Midwest and has participated in numerous poet/artist exhibitions at The Crossings at Carnegie in Zumbrota, Minnesota. A member of OccupySaintPaul, James lives with his wife, Athena, in New Brighton, Minnesota.