In our language, there is only
a borrowed word for constellation.
Instead of the Bear or the Big
or Little Dipper, there are layers
of terraced clouds from which,
on clear nights, you might see
the great cloud rat leap
in his ascent up the limbs
of the sacred tree, winding from earth
to the gates of heaven. There is
no hunter with a sword and silver belt,
but there are warriors wrapped
in loincloth, their hand-tooled
blades ringing still with the audible
breath of their enemies. Don’t ask me
for the catalog of their other names:
when it rains blood, there is famine;
and when it rains clear and milky,
the merciful goddess has squeezed
drops from her breast to feed us.
In response to Via Negativa: Ursa Major.