Prospero's Stars

Peering into the violet
twilight at high latitude,
amid humming sodium lamps
that wash the city sky clear of stars.
I struggle at seeing, at evening's edge,
faint flashes at the limit of vision.

Beneath this empty starless sky
the cat intently hunts at unseen prey,
disturbs my reverie with antic leaping.
My daughter's pet, they share
the child's facility to see
the dragon in the dragonfly.

'Twilight is the door between worlds.'
Who spoke those words?
I knew this once.
Now all my lore's forgotten,
the incantations hidden in a pile of bills,
among the undone lists of mundane tasks,
the litter of responsibility.

I would rename this dumb cat Caliban,
Declare it's insect prey my Ariel;
would open wide Prospero's book & know,
call up the hidden spirits of this place,
call up the stars and place them where I will.

Our reverie is ended.
Still there are no stars.

The almost silence of suburbia
here at the edge of evening,
dim rumble of trucks in the distance,
is all of island solitude that I shall know--
tranquility on summer's lawn.
Here I'll find wisdom or shall have none;
here learn to fashion magic
out of my own words.

Still there are no stars.
I rise & gather fallen twigs beneath the trees,
carry water to the potted plants;
take one last look around the lowering arc-lit sky,
& go inside.

The cat takes my warm place and glances up,
eyes alive with stars.

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