from Next to the Last Word,
Plain View Press, 1998
The comet passes close to earth tonight, slips almost
through lunar eclipse, but we will not be fertilized,
will not anguish to dust or turn to finer creatures
with sharp teeth for tearing meat-and heavy bones.
Vegetation will hold its own tonight.
There won't be a collision, oceans won't turn to deserts.
Ice caps won't move to the equator.
Our center will not become our rim. The comet is just
a fuzzy, yellow presence in the northern sky, tail-wiggling
across our window to the universe, which could be anything.
It will pierce something, sometime, but not us, not tonight.
The Firebird, whose heat we cannot imagine,
will be less hot than we are looking up at city lights
beneath a full moon-
Jesse leading off to third,
the pitcher faking a pick-off-
by this small comet that passes close enough for us to see-
a wild pitch, yellow star fuzz.
Someone is going to have a broken jaw.
But we will not be pierced tonight, are lucky tonight.
Our sun won't be obscured. We will not vanish
beneath layers of silt or petrify as pieces of us are replaced
by flint. Tonight somebody's safe.
And the ancient ball game we created won't be called tonight
by this wild pitch with its flirting journey to the great egg of space.
We'll play on tonight without a clue to the size or form,
meaning, origin or function of the game.
©copyright, Susan Bright
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.