I open the book and the memory
swims like astronomy. Formulas
unchanged, symbols like facades
of tiny houses. The small town
where we snapped pictures
in the burned-out church.
I wore a skirt we'd made
from a black-and-cream bedsheet.
The drunker I got, the more
the knot at my waist loosened.
Both boys with slicked-back
hair, wanting you. Both trying,
made weaker by their wanting.
Centuries ago, Tycho Brahe looked
up and saw what was fixed
suddenly rearrange: a star going
brighter before dying. A patterned
sheet, re-made. A knot undone.
You would only ever be sixteen.
All around, people hanging pictures
in rooms, drinking wine, laughing
without you. And I, too, alive, drinking,
trying to love the memory as I did
the girl, holes like tiny lights in the sky.