for my brother Frank
The astronomers have got it all wrong.
Stars are not made out of hydrogen atoms,
Thermofusing together while they themselves fly apart,
Millennia out of our reach.
Stars are made out of flint.
They are fixed into the turning sky,
Prussian blue in Winter,
In Summer, aquamarine.
The constellations are also fixed,
And hold to their formations
As surely as the words of a poem.
Astronomers are also wrong to say
That stars give out megatons of heat.
You would think that after so many nights
Shivering over their refracting telescopes,
They would at least know this much.
It’s not that they’re a stupid bunch of people.
I suppose it must be that, from so much
Squinting into their one-eyed instruments
They’ve forgotten what it is
To have feet firmly on the ground.