Temple of the Falling Stars

It was summer and night in this city in the desert
and though the heat of the day had diminished
it lingered long, humid on our skin
as we lay on the grass and watched a hundred stars fall.

I took your hand, led you from the lights and the crowd
to walk among those stars and speak in halting sentences
and wander without direction. We found a pool of darkness
and pulled each other down to lay again on a blanket of grass.

We lay in the shadow of an odd and angular building,
a star-rimmed silhouette against the breathless sweep of sky.
The Temple, we named it, The Temple of the Falling Stars,
and I promised you I’d write you a song about it.

We intended no irony in bestowing that name, the Temple,
for the night’s music and the sky’s strange fire and the promise of new
passion had raised in us a sacred sense, the wet hot air and bits
of burning star we gulped with every gasping breath a sacrament.

In the grip of that humid night we shivered and trembled,
later still in the stifling heat of my room I tasted salt on your skin
and pulled you from my bed into the night to sway together,
bodies spent, soaked beneath a sudden summer storm.

Years later, an ocean between us, I learned that those stars were not
stars but only specks of sand burst by friction into brilliant fire
as they hurled from frigid space toward us there in those humid shadows.
But in that night we worshipped them for what we knew them to be,
a sacred omen, a shower of sparks from a million shattered stars.


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