I’m Listening Still

“I don’t see it that way,” you say, and I begin the wonder why.
We sit cross legged on the floor of Washburn Observatory.
Back-to-back, we lean against us to keep each other upright.
We look at the sky from different angles and don’t see it quite the same way.
I feel you against me, the pressure, and practice remembering your face
as if a time will come when this, to me, will be important.

Washburn, 100 years old, was already deemed “historic” long ago.
Its days as a major research facility ended 50 years before this night.
Now, it’s used only for teaching basic techniques of observation.

Tonight, we use our eyes alone to watch the way the stars turn,
traveling across the dark in a slow-motion tick of reeling time.
Nothing could be more elementary than this, recalls the way we would have
seen the sky for all our lives with no access to the tools
astronomers used long before most of us knew how significant
examining the stars would be to understanding the way our universe works.

She’d said, “Let me show you,” the rear door lock being broken.
We’d learned from that moment to break in the back and share nights on the cold floor.
Warming each other the best way we knew how, we’d laugh at names
we gave each constellation, history be damned, as it was, so would it always be.
Our own religion, we wrote the testament, a story dedicated to love’s aging youth.

Now, I press hard against you, but never enough to push you any farther forward.
“Neither will I,” I say, wondering why I speak of a future sky tonight
and never hear the answer every time I ask the question,
even though I’m listening always still, as hard as I’ve ever tried.

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