on an otherwise unremarkable night – BEE LB

the symphony of bugs buzzing around our bright
bodies. the spray acrid as gasoline over our arms,
legs, torsos, faces scrunched like zipper spokes.

the wind hesitating before reaching to touch
the leaves, our hair sticky with sweat being
lifted briefly before settling again. a reflection

telescope takes time to temperature adjust.
nothing to do but wait. look up. look around.
count seconds or blades of grass; it’s all the same thing.

think, as always, of galileo. the slim aesthetic of a three-
legged refractor, retractable like spyglass. the sacrifices
we make for clarity, newton’s cylindrical tube.

crosshairs the same as a shotgun,
though no risk for crossing deer. something
about it feels almost the same. maybe just

the empty field, the bright open sky, the bleeding
heat. hunting reminds me of nothing so much as sweat

trailing neck, hair clinging to slick skin, hands heavy,
swelling with heat. though i can’t remember anymore
if i’ve really been. memory and truth do not always overlap.

like now, but not. the blind in the trees, watching dawn crawl
its way across the sky. the telescope on the ground, watching

sunset blink its heavy eyes to sleep. the telescope takes exactly as
much time to adjust as it takes to sink into the right trail of thought.

tonight the sky is soft as silk, so few clouds to disrupt the sighting
it seems almost as if a spindle of fabric were rolled out across
the horizon. stars like jewels, or pinholes, and the whole sky

opening like the epitome of possibility.
there is something to be said about lenses adding ease
to the gift of sight, but i am not the one to say it.

i’ll say instead: everything
reminds me of something else

and sliding the lens into place on the telescope feels exactly
like sliding the glass sample under a microscope.

the magnification of stars
and cells could not be less alike,

but the bloom of wonder is just the same.

crickets are singing their sweet song and when i remember
it is simply the brushing of legs, somehow, it grows sweeter.

there is no end to the joy of wonder.

the dial twists, untwists; the sky grows fainter, then sharper
closer, then farther; though nothing aside from sight

is changing. stars flicker
like camera spots, shining
then blurring then splitting

apart. focus is key, and with something so small as a star,
the key is elusive. the first star i caught in my sight was vega

the falling vulture, the year star,
judge of heaven, messenger of life.

the pleiades’ predecessor once marked the start of a new year.
the sign that earth was once more ready to bear life, its fall
below the horizon unlocking the beginning of autumn.

all this, and too, named the most important star in the sky
save the sun. maybe that’s why i called it my own,
the resonance of being second-best.

before polaris
was vega, north star, celestial navigator, axis-aligned,

ever-shining. in a future so distant it becomes
impossible to imagine, vega will reclaim its former
position: pole star, guiding principal, pre-eminent,
paramount. vega was traditionally named after

a loose transliteration: falling, landing.

at one time it was related to winter savory:
a bitter plant that flowers in summer, nearly
evergreen, less used than summer savory.

at the same time, it was related to olivine:
a mineral so easily weathered it’s used to sequester
carbon dioxide; found in meteorites on our moon,
mars, infant stars, and a single asteroid discovered
the year i was born. its spectral signature has been seen
in dust disks around young stars, the tails of comets,
and the planetesimal belt around a single star,
the second-brightest in its constellation,
named painter’s easel, larger and more
luminous than the sun.

the lockheed vega was named for my star,
and 5B was the plane Earhart took
as the first woman to fly solo
on a nonstop transatlantic flight,
five years before she disappeared.

the vega rocket began development the year i was born
and the first launch was set the day before
valentine’s, the year i turned fourteen.

claiming something as your own is as easy as seeing it
and naming it yours. the way you say shotgun
when with a group of friends and you want,
for a moment, to feel special.

the way you see vega both in the sky above you,
with your own two eyes, a burning light so far you can’t
understand—and in the glass below you, so close
your eyelashes brush the lens.

that feeling like you must be the first person
in the whole known universe to feel this way,
to feel this tug on your heart reminding you
of how big everything is and how miniscule
you are and how beautiful that realization is.

and though you know countless others have felt this way,
have put it to words better than you, and long, long before you,

somehow it feels right to see this star and name it mine
because you want, for a moment, to feel special.

BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in Revolute Lit, After the Pause, and Roanoke Review, among others. they are the 2022 winner of the Bea Gonzalez Prize for Poetry. they are a poetry reader for Capsule Stories. their portfolio can be found at twinbrights.carrd.co

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