Flagstaff Communion
by Sam Friedman

    On an ancient Earth
    whose forests that fed mastodons have transmuted
    into clapboard retirement homes,
    stars stare uncaring from pitiless skies,
    recording our actions,
    belying our dreams.

    It is August, in Flagstaff, Arizona,
    whose telescopes have eyed
    stars and planets,
    discovered them, cherished them.
    Four in the morning, when I,
    a metro-dweller famished for stars strewing skies
    like shattered glass the streets and parkways of post-urban Brooklyn,
    depart my motel doorway seeking the heavens,
    seeking the dark.
    No one moves in the rooms around me.
    The parking areas stand empty.
    Yet yellow lamps emblazon the night;
    and the countryside beyond sparkles
    with streetlights to hide us
    from starry eyes
    recording above.

    I walk through daylight-in-night time
    until I stumble upon a small park,
    slog to a corner shadowed by bushes,
    the earth's sacred greenery breathing its last.
    I peer through this patch of darkness,
    and Perseus, Auriga, Orion, and the Milky Way
    stare back
    with a beauty beyond Hollywood,
    beyond my ken, beyond my feeble pen.
    Blue Rigel winks to red Betelgeuse,
    nods to orange Aldebaran,
    and a shooting star surpassing Polaris
    ratifies my sacrament, my greeting of love.

Copyright 2024 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.