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The story starts
once upon a time
there was
the most beautiful woman
over here
and she loved him
over there
and then iron trouble found their tender-fingered night.

The broken sword lies between them—
there’s the hilt,
there’s the blade.
Those are his eyes,
those are her tears,
glittering in the long dark.

But stars are like facts.
As we map them
in their real places
they become
unrelated and lonely
each one separated
by long, empty time.
Even light gets old between them.
They do not touch.
The story is an accident of juxtaposition.

Facts are like stars.
This explanation,
our constellation,
hanging in space.


Cynthia McCain is a forest ecologist living in Oregon. Her poems have appeared in the Blue Heron Review and Heart. She lives in the country with her husband and cat.

© 2019, Cynthia McCain

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