Karen Mandell


Sometimes your constellation comes together just right.
Your mood (not too bad), the snow clouds, the fact that youíd been standing
in the teachersí dining room far too long with your coat on,
held up in conversation so that the nape of your neck
is limned with sweat:    your stars.
And then you walk out and the air is just chilly enough to cool you off
and snow is falling in fat clumps and you breathe them in: more stars to shoot
off and join the others.
A lousy mood and you wonít notice the full moon
behind the scrim of thick air,
a good mood and it doesnít matter.
Itís a fine balance and youíve got it.
On the drive home, the radio announcer
says to look up at the brightest moon of the year --
if the sky where you live is clear enough.
The sky isnít clear enough where you live;
itís overcast and damp, just perfect,
and the heavens stream by
and none of the stars falls out of place.

Location: Needham, Massachusetts
Occupation: Professor at Mount Ida College
Email: karenmandell@hotmail.com
Publications: Doubledare Press, Samsara Quarterly, Slow Trains, Poetry Motel, All Things Girl, etc.
Books: Repairs and Alterations

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