Venus

She is mooring of a far-flung kind.

starAt 2:46 in the morning she breaks clear from behind black cutouts of maple and elm. The room is black; the sky, a slate gray wash of preparation. Suddenly she is there, wearing that crown, spikey and star-white, and the eastern sky is hers. A stunning appearance. I realize I have been waiting. I shift my head on the pillow, bringing her to the right angle of the lowermost windowpane. I want to see where she goes, again, and at what angle, again, and how quickly she moves, again. I do not tire of this.

She trails Jupiter by only two hours along the planetary elliptical that, here, climbs at forty-five degrees. I use the black rectangle of window as reference, like high school geometry. She takes off, sliding up to the right, shot out of the sun’s memory and reflecting that light. Here and there, she disappears behind a grille, trailing that gauzy hem of light. She blinks out. A powerful tease.

I wait for her to emerge as the child awaits the moon’s emergence from total eclipse. I’m always slightly off, having lost my bearings. I wonder about this. I reach out my arm to its full reach, lift a thumb—an estimated two degrees of arc—and estimate her trajectory, her ETA at the top corner. One hour, 12 thumbs, 24 degrees of arc. It’s a game we play. How swift she is, and sure. Every morning the same. I look away and she has moved. She fills my room with light; my mind, with hundreds of remembered books and sky charts; my heart, with wonder still.

I have had countless sleepless nights in the last several years. Restlessness, impatience, or mere biology. Thoughts tumble and lodge, plans form up and play out, stories write and edit themselves. Time is precious, but I need sleep. I am likely to move—to another room, another house, another country—along a bumpy earthbound topography. Her trajectory was predicted from her birth. A follower of natural laws.  Do the math. She is faithful. She is mooring of a far-flung kind. I should sleep, but I cannot take my eyes away.

By 4:00, she has sailed up, following the twins, Castor and Pollux, and Aldeberan, the red eye of the bull. They will watch the sun rise from their high place far above the window sash. She is out of my dark sight, but I know where she is. Summer and winter I know where she is.

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