by Judith Serin

You are driving: I lean sleepily against the window. Orion
climbs over the hill. How constant he is, this most recognizable
of constellations, with his double lines of three stars.

I am not young. It has been a long time since you caught my eye
in the gallery. We need distance to see Orion's shape. This is
about us, too. The shape I do not see but know, tonight, is
there. The years. The man of stars who lasts when we will not.
Someday one of us will walk without the other. But the other
will be there, like Orion.

Light lets us see. When Orion climbed over the hill I knew
something: Hills and sky are dark but there is enough light to
see by.

I open a door and enter the dark sky. Warm car, me sleepy, you
driving. The hills on one side, the ocean on the other. The
dark blood, white bone, the light they all dissolve into.

I think of how we wake up in our house, me before you. Lift cats
off the bed to make it, and I scold you for lumps in the blanket.
One or the other goes to work. Often I stay in the house alone.
You come home late; I am asleep but wake up for a while. Later I
lean against your back in bed.

We get up. We quarrel. I am impatient; you are frustrated. We
laugh; you dance with the cats. We complain; we are content, not
often at the same time. But we don't see the shape, the
constellation that is there like Orion.

But tonight Orion climbs over the hill and I see us in the stars.

Last updated December 19, 2022