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Star Party

     Jenny Jump State Forest, Hope, New Jersey

We'd just buried a friend—good mother, wife, volunteer—
an example for us all, the pastor eulogized

before we crossed ourselves, tossed our de-thorned roses
in the mud and drove west on 80,

the hand-painted invitation hammered into the exit ramp
barely catching our eye in the glow of the high beams,

arrows winding us past the padlocked gates at the entrance
for Land of Make Believe Park up the side

of the mountain to a frosty clearing at the top
where we crowded around each scope

for a peek at the ring nebula in Lyra, the wobbly moons of Jupiter—
Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto,

what Sister Phyllis in 7th-grade science had drilled into us
as the Galilean satellites,

then a close-up of the lunar seas—Mare Nectaris, Mare Nubium,
a crater near the northern pole miles wide,

locked in perpetual pitch-black shadow, an ancient place,
our guide pointed out,

where souls were said to migrate, what early astronomers
believed to be a bottomless pit, now found to be

terraced with comet ice and slump rock, its impact basin thick
with the wreckage of shattered light.

John Bargowski

Poet Lore

Fall / Winter 2016

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