“Astrophilia” by Sarah Guo
October 16, 2023
On the other side of the door, I can hear you crying–
and there is something so obscurely beautiful
in watching a star collapse before my eyes.
Erosion. Implosion. Explosion.
I want to tell you that
there is light
you only have to let it
shine, and that if you wanted,
you could light bonfires in your entrails and send smoke
signals to God. I want to tell you that you are more than a star.
That there is a difference between their
incandescence and your gentle light.
That there is a dichotomy
I want to describe to you
the sterility of a star’s death–
how, despite our efforts, you will never be a tragedy. How,
despite it all, I want to touch you. How do I turn that into poetry?
I want to search for your salvation, lost within the
inevitable damnation of your material
makeup. It feels like I am looking
in a land
sinners. It feels
like the sinners are looking for me.
You ask me, what’s wrong? and I say, nothing.
You pause. You say, you smile as if in love with a ghost.
I inhale, sharply– and choke on a mouthful of stardust.
This poem was written by Sarah Guo, a member of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Youth Poetry Fellowship. Performed at the Seattle Arts & Lectures Encore series: Barbara Kingsolver, October 16, 2023, at Benaroya Hall.