By Christian Barter
Down the driveway, standing on the Russell Farm Road,
nothing but stars over my neighbor’s field
and over my neighbor’s house which crouches
under them with its lit windows,
cozy and distant as a research station.
Between the bare branches left hanging
like threads on cut shirt sleeves, stars tingle,
whole galaxies for the leaves that now fill ditches.
And down the road toward the impoundment lot
stars fill the river that cuts the trees’ black banks.
I stand in my work coat, dizzy with nicotine,
straining my head back like a boy drinking rain
to see more of them, star behind star,
rich milk of stars, ripe fruit of stars,
cast jewels, lit snowflakes, cityscapes of stars
through every window the night has thrown open,
through every perforation in the woods,
and step on the cigarette I’ve dropped in the road,
nothing but stars, stars falling away forever
beneath the veneer of dark that supports my feet.
Christian Barter’s first book, “The Singers I Prefer,” was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Prize. His poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, The American Scholar and elsewhere. He is an editor at the Beloit Poetry Journal and supervises a trail crew in Bar Harbor, Maine. His most recently collection is “In Someone Else’s House” (BkMk, 2013).