behold the Lord a neutron star had been “missing” for 32 years
visible light faded
gradually over 500 days, then
astrophysicists announced they had seen a hot, bright
blob in the core
of Supernova 1987A
wouldn’t it feel pleasant to be more and more together like a neutron star
clearly a brotherhood since we’re all exploding anyway? Might as well hedge
that spinning rank it was an “agent of change” I stood there squinting
into the heavens thinking if ‘star’ can also be ‘dust cloud’ or ‘nebula’
or ‘black hole’ then surely gender is far stranger than we’ve imagined
and much more beautiful, unfurling over decades, a phenomenon.
Exploded from a corn field— that’s me. Will you join this velvet burst?
Even the lord wants it. His will was written down for everyone
to read and he left something for everyone. The intention of the cedar
wood and hyssop branch and scarlet yarn is to let it be known
that it feels good to dwell in unity and pleasure. If I’m someday judged
on group projects alone, pray for me, nay, pray for you! But I wonder
will wealth be measured by what I gave away? I am interested in the gods,
their names, sacrifices, and what they gave up for their powers. Holy
lightning bolts will not come from my hand, but I too am unfolding, changing.
An old Amana book I read, that one with the cloth orange cover, says
before there was anything else, the communal kitchens along the river valley,
the calico, the salsify, before any barn or house was built, before the mill fire,
before everything that had to do with industry, there was the Community
of True Inspiration— the church, the faith, the religion— most of all.
The year I was born, a supernova exploded in “our” skies. I was 32 when
dust settled to finally reveal its thick, luminescent core. I didn’t even know.
I should keep the faith. So I’m here. Be a cloud with me remember
the believers by how they plant their dead in the ground absolute
order of expiry identical stone monuments bearing names and years
by number of orbits taken
around an already dying
I’m coming back to me now, yet I remain in common.
Come get your eggs: laid from the elements of dead stars!
Note: The italicized portions of this poem together comprise a passage from the book Amana That Was and Amana That Is, by Bertha Shambaugh (published in 1932 by The State Historical Society of Iowa).