illuminate

For Jared, and scientists everywhere, who illuminate and magnify awe.

Here this cooling September night,
wrapped in a flannel shirt,
I sit with my feet propped on the
old porch rail.
Resting my head on the back
of the Adirondack chair
points my gaze perfectly,
directly,
at Jupiter hanging on the archer’s wing tonight,
and Saturn inches away in a
sky the color of spilled ink,
pricked with pinholes of light.

I know little beyond their brightness,
content as I am with
the vastness of night,
the mystery of breath,
and the breadth of unknowing.

While pondering this,
I think of my friend,
how he knows Saturn,
intimately,
as only a scientist does,
knows the way one knows
the face of a child,
or a lover,
its contours and planes,
patterns and pressures,
its icy rings of
splintered comets and
shattered moons,
and the swirling of hydrogen and helium,
a state so unsuitable for sustaining our breath,
yet ripe for nourishing our curiosities and
imaginations.

And his knowing
illuminates the awe of my unknowing,
magnifies the sacred mystery
of sentient being.

©stephanie pepper, 2020