Sometimes a Star Falls

by Paul Hooker


9 November 2016

Sometimes a star falls.
I saw one last night, after midnight,
a flash of light against the inky black,
as though a line were dashed in chalky white
across a fresh-washed chalkboard,
drawn and just as quick erased,
swallowed by the ever-hungering dark.
Happens all the time I’m sure,
oftener than I’d as soon admit,
who keep my vision fixed on solid ground
so as not to stub my toe against my pride.

Sometimes a star falls.
A meteorite, you’ll lecture,
and you’ll of course be right,
an asteroidal fragment, a planetary piece
of a world that could no longer
keep itself together, and flew apart,
is now burned up within the grasp
of our ever-hungering atmosphere.
Funny how there always seems a ready
explanation of the sights we see
and somehow should not have seen.

Sometimes a star falls.
But tonight I wonder whose wishing star
it was, and how many hopes and dreams,
pegged on it, fell too, carried to oblivion
like so many tails pinned on a birthday donkey
in hopes of candy prizes for rewards,
like so many prayer flags fluttering in the wind,
marking prayers for those whose lives have been
expended on the ever-hungering mountain.
Of course, there are always other stars, still waiting
to be consumed in our atmospheric soup.