Nick McRae


      And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven,
      burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers,
      and upon the fountains of waters.
Revelation 8:10

Today we are less than industrious.
Stars fall around us and we read the morning
paper by their flaming out. STARS FALL.

How banal, we think, this anemic rain of fire.
Thousands of years ago, we spotted stars going

nova despite our small means to cope. We were
scientists then, squatting in piles of bones
to record the skies on cave rock. We sang

to their dying--threw our bodies into one
another, tore our hair, held up offerings
of meat and hide. With pigments from soil,

we painted ourselves with starbursts,
built monuments that stretched toward heaven
like midday flowers. Today, with less conviction

than on most days, daytime TV actors
cough their lines, gazing past the camera
to the coffee machine. In front of our TVs,

we are all layered in fine dust.
We have forgotten to pick our children
up from preschool. We have forgotten leaves

under our feet that will melt into the soil
like a lover. In the swell of the land's darkness,
we have forgotten the light in heaven's

windows, how when it falls, it burns up
the land and how, even in their burning,
trees cling wildly to the earth.

Nick McRae's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Copper Nickel, DIAGRAM, Linebreak, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. A former Fulbrighter and Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets fellow, Nick is currently a University Fellow in Creative Writing at The Ohio State University.

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