Elegy, with Figures from the Star Atlas*

(In memoriam, Myrielle Z. Falguera)

"Oh, body, be held now by whom you love." 
- Aracelis Girmay, "Kingdom Animalia"

Be as air, lightly 
passing over these early
morning walkers on the periphery,

keeping their respectful distance.
Be as shadow: rippled underside 
of leaves, each a kind of reverse 

halo. Be as whisper or echo, radiating 
outward through newly emptied spaces:
airports, museums, avenues; the Grand
Central Terminal where, that November, 
from the center of the great hall we
craned our necks toward its Catalan 

vaulting. Look for the archer, the bull,
the fish and the ram, gold-outlined 
against cerulean. Look for the goddess 

with a tiara of stars and two lions 
tethered to leashes; and the nymph 
with her billowing cape of stars. 

Look for the dark spot in the northwest
corner, small bandage of dirt and coal 
left by restorers, collected residue 

of fumes that rose up through decades to
discolor the ceiling. From where you are,
look upon the overall pattern which

was painted in reverse and so became 
riddled with error. Directions inter-
changed, constellations out of place: 

really, depictions of how it might look 
from the perspective of an immortal; or
someone with a sense of inscrutable design.


* Uranometria, 1603

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