Melina Papadopoulos

Backyard Astronomer

When I saw the neighbor's name
in the obituary,
I thought of his telescope

looking out into the universe

on the balcony with a pen
and the almanac open
to the astronomy section.

I thought of how he did not wake up early
to watch the morning rise red,
but to see that the sun and the moon
know how to share a sky.
I thought of the apples he ate for breakfast,
how each core became that of a new sun
in his interpretation of the solar system.

("There is at least a nibble
in every celestial body out there
and the teeth marks show,
but they still exist
and they still go on").

I thought of how he always said
he was never too interested in gardening,
but that the flowers that reminded of stars were nice
because he could plant his own constellations.

so now, Orion sprawls across his lawn
with a belt of bluebells
and an azalea weapon,
the little dipper is a smoldering chain
of daffodils,
and the weeds are the unknown spaces
between galaxies.

He was the third person
down the line in the obituary
and when I noticed this,
I remembered how he once told me
that the sunset starts

from the top and works its way down.
The print of his name--
a sudden lunar eclipse
passing shadows between the page
and my gaze.

When I saw my neighbor's name
in the obituary,
I taught myself that the moon goes
through paper phases
even outside the almanac.

Melina Papadopoulos is the proud owner of six birds and many, many decoys of them. She lives in the state of Ohio and is to be a full-time college student in the fall. Her work has appeared or will be appearing in Emerge Literary Journal, Bluestem Magazine, Apt, among others.

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