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Friday, December 31, 2021


by David Chorlton

An Ariane 5 rocket second stage deployed the James Webb Space Telescope shortly after launch on Dec. 25, 2021. It's 'humanity's last view' of the new observatory, says NASA PAO Rob Navias.

A cloud filled with shadow
floats up towards the gods
veiled in shades of cold
who look out from the mountain
and talk among themselves
about creation and energy
channeled to become this slender ridge
as the first step to infinity
and home for the coyotes
who come out every night to ask the stars
for guidance through the dark.
Word has it
from the hawks ascending
that a rocket has left the Earth
to go so far back in time
that all remaining to be seen
are the final ashes from
the cosmic dawn. What
a flash and what an echo
must have issued from the moment,
they reflect. And yet
not a single mockingbird
and no woodpeckers flew
from the crash. The day
is chilly but beautiful in how
the sheets of rain drift past
each other, and crossing
the peaks are the souls
the fates could never capture for themselves.

David Chorlton is a longtime resident of Phoenix, who continues writing, painting, and keeping track of the local bird life. His newest book is Unmapped Worlds, a collection of rehabilitated poems from his files of the past.