Sunday, April 25, 2010

My daughter's constellations

Sleeping in her old room,
I discover on the ceiling
a galaxy from her childhood.

I try to make out the celestial system
of glow-in-the-dark stars,
to guess what she was thinking
when she created her own astronomy.

I thought I saw the constellations
of endangered birds and rainforest frogs
she loved when she was nine,

a flute-playing nymph dancing
near the orb of Chinese paper
that forms her sun.

Beyond that, I can't
discern the pictures in her sky.
Her most private planets
are only visible through
a telescope she took with her,
the lens of her own heart.

I have to be content
with this, and only this...
points of light reaching me now
from her distant past.


  1. This is completely wonderful, Caledonia my dear. Heartbreaking and lovely, and such a wonderful use of the mundane - the ceiling and its stars, the paper lantern sun - turned into an entire history, a young life.

  2. Thought of this poem looking at those very constellations on the ceiling above us, as we slept in this bedroom last week.