Constellations (Gary B. Fitzgerald)


My father, the pilot, taught me

the names of the stars:

Betelgeuse, Sirius, Rigel, Polaris.

He taught me the constellations:

Orion & Leo, Pegasus, Centaurus,

the eternal portraits of imagination

painted on the infinity of dark.

I was only three or four when,

just before sleep, he came into my room.

He told me that he would be home soon,

that he had to leave to hang the moon.

The next night I’d ask my grandmother

to take me outside to see "the moom,"

so I could be sure that he really was

still up there.

Long after the B-17s and the DC-3s,

but before his beloved 707s,

my father flew the magnificent old three-tailed

Constellations, and many souls were carried

over empty seas, along the edge

of the heavens, presidents and kings and VIPs,

in skies then just as empty.

And now at night when I look up

I think of him and all the constellations.

I wonder how, after all these years,

they’ve never changed,

how all he ever taught me was still true.

I look up at the moon and imagine

what distant seas are flown,

what stars now skirted by his wings,

now that I’m sure that he really is

still up there.


Copyright 2008 – SOFTWOOD-Seventy-eight poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

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