While standing on my back porch leaning
into the night calling my dog home, a light
ball erupted over my head and streaked
a knife gash across the sky toward north.
I knew it couldn’t be only a rock entering
my atmosphere, but something human made—
both mighty and an achievement—breaking
apart when it lost its orbit. Someone said this
must be what happened to my husband—
that he’d come into my orbit once a long time
ago and lodged there, serenely circling as if
he were a natural body and the gravitational
pulls a given, until something in his workings
clicked open or shut—can I say I actually recall
the day, how his eyelids closed and opened?
and what I saw was a shadow, a turning away,
and so can you blame me if,
when this satellite descended above, my dog
not listening, again, instead wanting to smell
the leaves and soil damp from an earlier rain,
my instinct to reach upwards with both hands?
Laura McCullough is a poet and memoirist whose books include The Wild Night Dress, selected by Billy Collins in the Miller Williams Poetry Contest, University of Arkansas Press; Jersey Mercy (Black Lawrence Press); Rigger Death & Hoist Another (BLP); Panic (winner of the Kinereth Gensler Award, Alice James Books); Speech Acts (BLP); and What Men Want (XOXOX Press). She teaches full time at Brookdale Community College, has taught at Stockton University and Ramapo College, and is on the faculty of the Sierra Nevada low-res MFA where she teaches poetry and critical theory. Visit her at http://www.lauramccullough.org/.