Apostrophes of brazen light,
flash out day’s contraction
from cobalt dusk
high above the fire two tend on a beach.
“Shooting stars? Satellites?” (Aliens
he will not venture)—says the boy, poking
driftwood splints under the pan of onions and potatoes.
The other’s pause is tolerant and brief.
“Jet planes,” he says, flipping their dinner
with one wide-wristed shake of the pan’s long handle.
“The setting sun catches their fuselage.
You see it most when they take off or land.”
Five decades on, the west-facing pane
at suppertime returns that molten oriflamme,
topaz bursts from the
cigar-shaped vessels ferrying men and women
between cities, singing a star’s descent.
Those flashes are long-lived because they take
no life nor bring it. Telling is their gorgeous limit.
It falls to one of short duration
to help the sun down—
but that spark, too, was kindled on that beach.