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Amy Gerstler



Night Guidance


Some say humans become disoriented

if we go too long without seeing the light in the heavens

(light urban development sometimes drowns out…)


animals who navigate by the stars

are among the ones we once gave ourselves to

or became in ancient days, but we don’t do that anymore

as we are struggling just to domesticate ourselves


seals complete long swims across featureless seas

guided by a constellation which describes the outline

of a giant woman, not ragingly beautiful or super sexy

but a great athlete, which angered the gods:

they’re always irate about something,

if a human shows admirable talent, for example,

as if deities know terror is all they are good for


that cluster of stars over by the elm

is supposed to be an archer

imprisoned in his constellation

or some other lovesick fool


this time of year, in this hemisphere

you can clearly see Gemini:

is there hanky panky going on 

between those twins? they seem closer

than one would suppose is wholesome


when he first wakes up in the morning

his hair looks like a planetarium on fire


and that constellation yonder represents a loyal dog

delicately biting a white hibiscus,

and that one’s a sunken ship

which injured its hull by hitting a whale, sadly,

not by blindsiding an iceberg,

and that one’s a recently defrosted mummy


streams of cosmic debris can interfere

with viewing Porcus Major, a famous constellation

representing a poorly taxidermied boar’s head

a boar who is the lord of do-overs

he can grant you the ability to go back and unmake

mistakes you imagine you made

on nights when sleep was something

you could not locate

because there were no clear landmarks




David Toomey

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