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October 2019 Vol. 15 No. 3

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Peter Newton

The Undiscovered Language of Stars

Some astronomy expert on the radio the other day says the Big Dipper is coming apart at the seams. I’m not prepared for this type of news. Mass killings, tragic earthquakes, surprise tsunamis I can handle. But the stars. The very heavens coming unhinged.

a skip in the record

Apparently the seven stars that pin The Big Dipper together are moving in different directions. In a thousand years or so the handle of the ladle will most likely come loose spilling its eternity of darkness – a flood no one but a learned few will notice.

exactly where

In the meantime, what to do with this stumbled-upon factoid. This inevitable doom. I tuck it away like a magpie that has found a loose strand of Christmas tinsel. I keep it and turn it over trying it on for size. Ultimately, I add it to my otherwise cluttered life of keepsakes. Striped stones, stray feathers, a perfect specimen of acorn with its checkered cap. Each is an ingredient to some secret recipe. Each a word in a language I have either forgotten or never learned. A language that comes to me in pieces.

I remember