A Choir of Stars

The creek is a mirror. I wake in darkness, before the moonrise, see lights glimmering around me like the eyes of nocturnal creatures: the reflections of stars on the still water. Choirs of stars sing above me, frequencies beyond human hearing. If we could sleep under these stars each night, healing might be possible.

In my house, the cat curls up in her basket. She comes inside now that the nights are cool. This may be her last summer. She still eats. She moves slowly and does not wander far anymore. Mostly she sleeps. 

In my childhood home on the other side of the ocean, my father lies in his bed. For his birthday, I send him flowers. They will cheer up my mother. My mother bakes a cake he will not eat. Dad mostly sleeps.

Autumn will soon gild the leaves. The swallows have left their nests in the cliffs, pilot their way south. Seeds fall and lay themselves to sleep in the soil. They need to lie through a cold winter so they can germinate. Maybe there’s a metaphor in that.

I Don’t Usually Pray

My father is still alive

when I switch off the phone

to board the plane.

My mother pleads

with him: hang on, wait,

just one more night.

I ask for a glass of wine.

I don’t usually drink.

Today I hope it dulls

the edge of grief,

lulls me to forget

where I travel.

Over the Atlantic,

I dissolve in weeping.

I don’t usually cry.

The flight attendant asks

if she can do anything.

Make the plane fly faster.

I keep checking the flight status.

I will search my sister’s face

when she picks me up.

I don’t usually pray.

Today I pray.

To be in time.

Originally published in As It Ought To Be Magazine. 

Agnes Vojta grew up in Germany and now lives in Rolla, Missouri where she teaches physics at Missouri S&T and hikes the Ozarks. She is the author of Porous Land, The Eden of Perhaps, and A Coracle for Dreams, all published by Spartan Press. Most recently, she has been collaborating with seven other poets on the book Wild Muse: Ozarks Nature Poetry which is forthcoming from Cornerpost Press in October 2022. Her poems have appeared in a variety of magazines; you can read some of them on her website agnesvojta.com.