Reading the Stars
Constellations could be anything seen
from another angle,
dipper a chair, a Shoshone rabbit trap.
Various fugitive cultures
congregated here before the sagebrush,
so far back
it takes a paleontologist
to calculate them.
Anthropologists hitch up their belts,
rattle dust and bones across their screens
searching for artifacts. Carefully sifting
the stones, they rarely fined the need to look
“The alluvial curve of the Ksunku site [near Kettle Falls, in eastern Washington] has a
single peak and a certain symmety, resembling a dorsal fin with a concavity on the left
side when graphed on normal paper in a simple frequencey polygon.”
(Chance and Chance)
At night our skies are full of eloquent polygons.
Ron McFarland teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Idaho. His most recent books are his new selected poems, Stranger in Town (Confluence); his stories and essays from Idaho, Catching First Light (Idaho State University), and his critical essays, Understanding James Welch (University of South Carolina).