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Wednesday, December 23, 2020


by Barbara Simmons

“Shot using the decade old Canon 60D and 75-300mm by stacking 25 shots on the Conjunction with the same frame but varying focus. I am obsessed with Saturn and that’s where the prime focus is.” —Tweet by Sajal Chakraborty @sajaldreamworks

Bundled up and with binoculars, we are contemporary
versions of Ptolemy and Aglaonice, 
standing on our driveway, necks tilted back, our bodies a bipod
for our binoculars, finding the yellowish crescent of December’s moon,
and what we think might be the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.
Maybe it’s because we often are not part of something bigger than
ourselves, because we’ve missed the comet tails and then eclipses,
not standing in the hemisphere that’s best for viewing, 
we’ve kept our celestial appointment, keeping company with Genghis Khan
800 years ago, who also watched this joining in the skies.
There are, of course, glow-in-the-dark star stickers we'd placed
on our son’s ceiling when he was so little that he’d really thought
the sky had entered to illuminate his bedtime.  And, then there are the
many other simultaneous occurrences that are joinings:
the House and Senate, the King and Queen, the lords and ladies,
the earth and sea, the heavens and earth, the living and the dead,
the unspoken and the thought, the unsaid and the truth, 
the haves and the have-nots, the remembered, the forgotten,
until we hear, you and me, from friends that what we thought
we'd seen could not have been both Jupiter and Saturn, but only
one of them, given where we live.  So, you and I, conjoined now
for some years, made a decision and decided that your and my eyes
had seen the great conjunction, and like the Christmas Star, 
we will believe in something larger than ourselves, needing to
in times when either/or has reigned too long, and
like all good conjunctions, this conjoining, not choosing one or other,
a great conjunction, Jupiter and Saturn,
is how we’ll complete this 2020 year, allusion always
to a greater sight, and now, helps us to see a new night sky.

Barbara Simmons grew up in Boston, now resides in San Jose, California—the two coasts inform her poetry. A graduate of Wellesley, she received an MA in The Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins. Retired, she savors smaller parts of life and language, exploring words as ways to remember, envision, celebrate, mourn, always trying to understand more about human-ity. Publications have included, among others, Santa Clara Review, Hartskill Review, Boston Accent,  The New Verse News, Soul-Lit, 300 Days of Sun, Writing it Real, Capsule Stories: Isolation Edition and Autumn Burning Edition, and OASIS.