“Instructions Included with Telescope” by Jessica Young

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Jessica Young

INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED WITH TELESCOPE

At night, in bed, you try to sleep but think of the sky.
On a clear evening, 2000 visible stars. Scintillating,
burning. You pick one with its own Earth, perhaps,

with plantlife—tall ferns pinnate, fronded, veined.
Another with oceans, schools of fish that pull together,
swarm in nearness of hunters. How they undulate,

frenetic, the wall of them a non-thing, continuously
shifting. Black cloud of smoke, swirled vortex, and
all you want is to be sleeping. But the many of them.

And now you think of how every star you can see,
almost every single glowing dot, is in the same galaxy
as you. Of the hundreds of billions of galaxies, you are

in one. Of its hundreds of billions of stars, you see
a small fraction. Which is to say, everything you see
is basically nothing. And maybe it’s this thought,

maybe not. It could as well be something to do with
your body, how lately it feels like someone else’s.
Could be a phrase caught deep in your eardrum,

or simply the hour, but, in a moment, the longing
for home grows so strong you are left defenseless.
And since home is not a place you can dress

and walk to, is not a physical location, your skin
feels that much hollower. And the stars—the stars are
farther away than you could possibly understand.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012

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One thought on ““Instructions Included with Telescope” by Jessica Young

  1. Every day I receive a poem, but it’s not every day or every poem
    that I get or that gets me. Your poem dazzled me and left me with
    a strange feeling of longing, the same longing I feel when I look at the stars. Thank you.

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