We climbed the ridge & chased the setting sun—
our skin still moist
from the heat.
The park ranger said this is the summer of planets.
Now when I think of Venus, seen with the naked eye that night, I think about your desire to keep me warm— an excuse for touch— up on that cold valley peak. The earth’s moon seen through a telescope is tied to the memory of you— your lips at my ear, an echoing voice of quiet wonder.
How can we feel insignificant under these planetary bodies yet so significant to one another?
My love— the center of my galaxy— even as ours steadily approaches its own interstellar crescendo. You are magnitudes while I am a star, enraptured and ever in your orbit.
Months are nothing
to the Milky Way but everything:
to my fingers and the light patterns they trace in your hair
to your reverent, quiet worship
to sunday morning ritual— finding faith in book pages & rumpled sheets
to our beautiful aging bodies
So that july night,
as the space station passed over us on its everchanging orbit—
you put your arm around me
& the dim yellow glow of park lights followed us home,
two binary stars in the dark.
Nicole McCarthy earned her MFA from the University of Washington Bothell where she worked with Renee Gladman, Amaranth Borsuk, and Rebecca Brown. Her work has appeared or in The Offing, Redivider, Glass: a Journal of Poetry, The Shallow Ends, Ghost Proposal, Tinderbox Poetry, Memoir Mixtapes, Civil Coping Mechanism's A Shadow Map anthology, FIVE:2:ONE Magazine, and the 2018 Best American Experimental Writing anthology. Her work has also been performed and encountered as projection installation pieces throughout Tacoma and Seattle and her written work can be found at nicolemccarthypoet.com. She is a 2018 Artist Trust GAP award recipient.
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan.
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