The Well of Stars

by Emily

David Whyte

Blue lights on the runway like stars
on the surface of a well
into which I fall each night from the sky,
emerging through the tunnel door
of the jetway, and the black waters
of the night, in the cities of America.

In the lit rooms of glass and steel,
in the still and secret towers,
under the true stars hid by cloud
and the steam shrouded roofs
of the mansions of money and hope,
I come with my quiet voice and
my insistence, and my stories,
and out of that second and
deeper well I see again those other
blue stars and that other darkness
closer even than the night outside,
the one we refuse to mention,
the darkness we know so well
inside everyone.

I have a few griefs and joys
I can call my own
and through accident it seems,
a steadfast faith in each of them
and that’s what I will say
matters when the story ends.

But it takes a little while to get there,
all the unburdening
and the laying down
and the willingness
to really tire of yourself,
and then step by step
the ways
the poets through time
generously gave themselves
to us,
walking like pilgrims
through doubt,
combining their fear
their fierceness and their faith.

And you now,
in the front of the room
under the fluorescent light
by the reflected window
hiding all the stars
you have forgotten.

One more member
of the prison population
whose eyes have caught
the open gate at last.
You are the one for whom the gift was made.

Keep that look in your eyes
and you’ll gladly grow tired of your reflection.

All this way through
the great cloud race between
here and Seattle, just
to look beneath your face.

There, for all to see,
the well of stars,
and the great night from which you were born.

This is how I want to start my new year.

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