Whispers for Orion

— Gursharan Summan

The night sky flows
 Like deep black wine
 into my hollow skull,
 and I’m dizzy on the flash
 and flicker of eternity.
A dance of forms and the elegant bright
 across the canvas of the night
 is electric, vast, and cold.
Leave me alone until I’m old
 and silver and radiant
 like the sliver of moonshine
 and ancient angelic suns which
 hang silent and pensive before my eyes.
My cheeks are icy but my breath is hot
 the grasses beneath my toes are moist
 mosquitoes buzz and hum
 in wild incantation for my eardrums
 and the sky ripples
 like the surface of a pond.
Orion, I see you swim
 and chuckle there in vastness
 electrified and blue
 as you drink so deeply of
 the wine of Big Dipper!
 The mosquitoes and I can hear
 the music flowing from your lungs
 so we waltz and rejoice
 in step with you across the heavens
 for our lips have tasted the same
 celestial chalice, and we are hooligans!
and I see the absurdity of your belt,
 how much hubris and delight
 you must feel in wearing it.
and I see blown in
 across the mountains
 a glowing white fog of dust.
Orion, I must ask
 is this bright cloud
 the opium of your lungs?
 I breathe deeply this sacrament
 and smile to your shining face.
And if I closed my eyes to sleep,
 you think I might float away
 on a swirling wave of mosquitoes
 into the oblivions of midnight?
I hover up skyward with chattering teeth
 you aren’t here but a mess of stars!
 Weightless as a wisp of smoke
 I drift alone all woozy,
 and hear you chanting slowly
 in your secret language.
I glide back into my eyelids
 waking from these fever visions, and
 from down here, Orion, I can see you just fine:
 your gleaming eyes — that prideful grin!

Can you see me standing
a speck of dust in the cold
gazing so reverently at your face?

Can you hear my voice
or does it drift away like gibberish
in the breeze?

I can’t translate your liquid tongue
but silence is our common language
so I’ll wait here listening,
whispering to the howl of the wind,
the two of us stranded in our bones
and shivering in this dream we call home.

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