Stargazing with My Sister

If the starry sky made a sound,

it might be the high steady chirr

of insects on an August night,

a shimmering medium in which we float,

my sister and I, leaning back

in our lawn chairs and looking up. 

We have turned off the house lights

and speak low,

blending our voices with the cricket

continuo.  Sometimes a shooting star

streaks by.  My wish

every time—peace. 


Out through the Milky Way, flashes

from Earth—oil fires, air strikes—carry

late news to beings elsewhere.

If it reaches them, if they can peer

back to its source, Look, they’ll say,

someone was there.


Inside on the kitchen counter

stand jars of cucumber pickles

my sister and I packed, with garlic

and heads of dill.  A faint light

gleams on their rounded shoulders, starlight

from galaxies where cucumbers

and crickets are unknown. 

Perhaps the inhabitants of Andromeda

or the Virgo Cluster have something similar

that they find delicious.

Or did, at least, when their light

set out towards us.


            Karie Friedman

            From The Indian River Review, 2012