The Position of the Stars

Miniskirt held down with laughter,
My arms full of the blue quilt
And package of cherry licorice,
You had the 6-pack of a beer
Only teenagers and drunks would buy.
We ran through the dark cow pasture
To the very center
Or what we thought might be
And still laughing, we stumbled down
Over the remains of alfalfa stalks,
The blanket and licorice beneath us
And the dark expanse of Oklahoma sky above us.

There was no moon and the stars
Put on their show for us,
After we straightened out the blanket
And lay on it, our backs
To the hard earth, our feet entwined.
“I only know the Big Dipper,” you said,
Pointing at it with your beer can.
“They don’t care,” I said.

We moved closer and we moved away
And the journey of the stars in our sight
Became more than the sky
Could hold, more than the time in their light,
The stark brilliance of some,
The disappearing flame of others,
The pasture spinning away
Into the future we did not imagine.

Tonight I went out and looked
At the stars in my backyard.
A coondog howled in the distance.
The Big Dipper held its position.
This is the same sky that watched
Us when we were young.
These are the stars
That still know you.

–Shaun Perkins

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