HomeArchiveAboutMastheadJoin POW ListserveDonateBlank page
Eleanor Lerman


Mystery of Meteors


I am out before dawn, marching a small dog through a meager park

Boulevards angle away, newspapers fly around like blind white birds

Two days in a row I have not see the meteors

though the radio news says they are overhead

Leonid’s brimstones are barred by clouds; I cannot read

the signs in heaven, I cannot see night rendered into fire


And yet I do believe a net of glitter is above me

You would not think I still knew these things;

I get on the train, I buy the food, I sweep, discuss,

consider gloves or boots, and in the summer,

open windows, find beads to string with pearls

You would not think that I had survived

anything but the life you see me living now


In the darkness, the dog stops and sniffs the air

She has been alone she has known danger,

and so now she watched for it always

and I agree, with the conviction of my mistakes.

But in the second part of my life, slowly, slowly,

I begin to council bravery.  Slowly, slowly,

I begin to feel the planets turning, and I am turning

toward the crackling shower of their sparks


These are the mysteries I could not approach when I was younger:

the Boulevards, the meteors, the deep desires that split the sky

Walking down the paths of the cold park

I remember myself, the one who can wait out anything

So I caution the dog to go silently, to bear with me

the burden of knowing what spins on and on above our heads


For this is our reward: Come Armageddon, come fire or flood,

come love, not love, millennia of portents—

there is a future in which the dog and I are laughing

Born into it, the mystery, I know we will be saved


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-from The Mystery of Meteors


The Magellanic Clouds


In the age of discovery, the Large Magellanic Cloud was already

            to the naked eye.

It presided over tragic ocean voyages and massacres, the

   destruction of

libraries and temples, ritual burials and the uneven exchange of


Looking through his spyglass, Magellan himself thought it had a

            heart-breaking quality

though his was just a feeling.  Later, scientists were able to tell us

that the problem with the Large Magellanic Cloud is the Tarantula


Measurements indicate that this nebula is actually the core of the

Large Magellanic Cloud even though it appears to be off-center

from the rest of the galaxy.  Ah.  Always off-kilter, pursuing

            its own heart,

the Large Magellanic Cloud hugs the horizon but lurks around all


Sometimes the Large Magellanic Cloud experiences light and


            but more often that not

it knows nothing but trouble.  It is pierced by comets.  It is

in a transition state and grows bigger and more unwieldy every day.

But there is hope!  The Large Magellanic Cloud has a companion,

            a little twin called the Small Magellanic Cloud.

On photographic plates, it sometimes appears blurry but believe me,

            it is there.

It may be hard to see, but it has a kind and spiritual nature.

The Russians have been studying it since the Revolution.

Nixon thought about it a lot, so do people who believe that

           their airplane is about to crash.

Who else thinks about the Small Magellanic Cloud?

People who have problems in their love life and their work

(I, for instance, have had it in my mind for years).

The Small Magellanic Cloud knows about our disappointments

           and it sympathizes.

It worries for us sometimes, so we can sleep.  But the

Small Magellanic Cloud, whose inner heart is perfectly centered,

           always perseveres.

It follows after the Large Magellanic Cloud and picks up the pieces.

Loving us, loving us, loving us, the Small Magellanic Cloud.

Puzzles the astronomers because it seems to have no purpose.

But we know better.  We whisper its name to our children so they

           may be comforted.

We tell them that every day, stars are born in the Small

           Magellanic Cloud

and then spin of into the universe, remembering us, wishing us well.


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-from Our Post Soviet History Unfolds



Kim Addonizio 03-14-08


Agha Shahid Ali 09-14-07


Alice Anderson 11-16-08


Renee Ashley 04-10-2010


Christianne Balk 07-27-07


Brian Barker 07-07-07


Polina Barskova 09-13-2010


Bruce Beasley 11-22-08


Nicky Beer 09-06-2010


Nicky Beer 08-22-08


Nathaniel Bellows 04-27-09


Ciaran Berry 01-25-09


Linda Bierds 08-31-07


Kristin Bock 08-17-09


Bruce Bond 02-18-2012


John Bradley 03-12-2012


Brian Brodeur 03-29-09


Michelle Boisseau 09-20-2010 


Sophie Cabot Black 03-26-2012


Anne Caston 09-24-09


Anne Caston 02-27-2011


Elizabeth Biller Chapman 01-25-08


Nicole Cooley 04-05-09


Stephen Cramer 02-14-2011


Nicole Cuddeback 03-07-08


Steve Davenport 03-29-2010


Cortney Davis 05-03-09


Todd Davis 11-01-2010


James Dickey 03-12-2012


Stephen Dobyns 02-26-2012


Elizabeth Dodd 09-05-08


Karen Donovan 04-15-07


Mark Doty 04-11-08


Stephen Dunn 11-09-02010


Lynn Emanuel 08-30-2010


Lynnell Edwards 11-22-2010


B. H. Fairchild  09-04-09


Elyse Fenton 04-25-2011


Nick Flynn 01-28-2012


Nick Flynn 10-04-2010


Rachel Contreni Flynn 04-10-2011


Carolyn Forche 09-21-07


Carrie Fountain 03-21-2011


James Galvin 02-23-07


Margaret Gibson 01-24-10


Mary Jo Firth Gillett 02-22-08


Dana Gioia 08-23-2010


Eugene Gloria 09-20-08


Louise Gluck 03-17-2010


Kevin Goodan 08-29-08


Matthew Graham 11-28-2010


Robert Grunst 11-16-07


Bruce Guernsey 9-13-2011


Elizabeth Hadaway 06-15-07


John Haines 11-01-2011


Donald Hall 02-10-07


Sarah Hannah 11-25-2011


Jeff Hardin 08-10-07


Elizabeth Haukaas 09-13-2011


Brooks Haxton 03-08-10


Seamus Heaney 09-11-09


Jamey Hecht 12-05-2010


Bob Hicok 10-25-2011



Andrew Hudgins 11-21-09


Lynda Hull 05-20-07


Henry Israeli 01-23-2011


Major Jackson 05-02-2010


Mark Jarman 10-19-08


Rodney Jones 10-26-09


Barbara Jordan 02-02-09


Ilya Kaminsky 11-18-2011


Daniel Khalastchi 8-30-2011


Brigit Pegeen Kelly 10-12-08


Jane Kenyon 04-01-07


Suji Kwock Kim 11-09-2011

 James Kimbrell 04-07-2010

James Kimbrell 01-19-07


Galway Kinnell 11-09-07


Yusef Komunyakaa 07-15-07


Phil Levine 06-03-07


Eleanor Lerman 11-02-08


Larry Levis 04-04-08


Larry Levis 02-08-2010


Lisa Lewis 02-11-2012


Sandy Longhorn 04-26-08


Corey Marks 10-03-07


Adrian Matejka 04-18-08


Davis McCombs 01-18-08


Jeffrey McDaniel 10-08-2011


Michael McGriff 02-22-09


Jay Meek 01-16-2010


Anne Michaels 01-18-09


Nils Michals 02-29-08


Keith Montesano 12-12-2010


Malena Morling 05-12-08


Simone Muench 02-08-08


Sharon Olds 02-22-07


Sharon Olds 10-19-07


Michael Ondaatje 02-01-2010


Eric Pankey 09-07-07


Gregory Pardlo 06-22-07


Ed Pavlic 09-28-07


Oliver de la Paz 02-15-2010


Lucia Perillo 12-04-09


Catherine Pierce 04-18-2011


Jon Pineda 04-09-2012


Donald Platt 02-15-08


Joshua Poteat 03-13-2011


Joshua Poteat 11-3-09


Wyatt Prunty 02-20-2011


Dean Rader 03-07-2011


Amy Randolph 03-01-09


Robert Randolph 12-12-09


Adrienne Rich 04-20-2010


Joshua Robbins 11-16-2010


David Roderick 12-07-07


Bobby C. Rogers 02-04-2012


Pattiann Rogers 3-21-08

 Steve Scafidi 10-09-09


Jim Schley 10-19-09


Tim Seibles 10-08-07


David Shumate 10-26-08


Dave Smith 04-10-09 


Katherine Soniat 01-21-2012


Katherine Soniat 11-30-07


Gary Soto 03-23-07


Mark Sullivan 08-28-09


Mathias Svalina 04-02-2012

Frank Stanford 10-25-2010

Mark Strand 02-22-2010


Mark Svenvold 03-23-09


Robert Thomas 05-03-2011


Brian Turner 05-13-07


Joshua Vinzant 01-30-2011


Tribute to Virginia Tech 04-24-07


Connie Voisine 10-1-2011


Charles Harper Webb 10-12-07


David Wevill 03-27-2011


C.K. Williams 05-25-07


Susan B.A. Somers-Willett 06-29-07


Charles Wright 01-27-07


Robert Wrigley 10-11-2010


Robert Wrigley 08-17-07


Robert Wrigley 04-09-07


Robert Wrigley 02-03-07