Poetry by Philip Hess
We catch them in our dreams,
heads thrown back like exhausted sailors
at their oars. Faint streaks crease the sky
behind rippling eyelids.
Actual events are witnessed by machines
drip-fed from a net full of camera fisheyes,
hungry, alive to nuance, to wind and cloud,
to satellites and planets and auroras.
A signal goes out and we’re up out of bed,
heaving duffels of gear in the back of a truck,
stopping only for coffee and donuts, a glance
at the stars, coordinates already queued up.
Like dogs unleashed to find the child fallen
into a well or locate a buried treasure,
we lope along plow rows, crisscross snow fields
and lake beds, mince our way out into desert.
We howl at the sky and hug each other tight
when we find one, record it as the color
of charcoal, or wood ash, or iron ore slag,
shape of a turtle shell, or a pine cone, or a fist.
On the first night we rise with the moon,
pad into the kitchen and switch on the overhead,
hold it up in its plastic bag against the light,
compare it to the one buried in our heads.
About the Poet
Phil’s pseudonymous reviews of movies and other things appear occasionally at 10franks.com. He lives in (to borrow a phrase from William Gass) “a small town fastened to a field in Indiana.”