Halley’s Comet

for Dan

Here I stand face to face with my own mortality
and the waning interest of friends
who have no inclination to peer into the skies
at an ungodly hour, scanning the horizon
without the faintest notion
of where Scorpio can be found.

Lacking binoculars and with a naked eye,
I look about in the dark
for the clock with a luminous dial.
Vaporous clouds are sliding past my window.
Without notice ice-cubes rearrange themselves
in my glass.
I am certain now that those with whom I speak

must be immortal. To the child who was born
in April
after Easter—I bequeath one gift—
that he find his universe both predictable
on occasion
and worthy of observation—
even at inconvenient times when Halley returns.

I ask to be remembered as one of those who
pay attention
when it is getting late—as someone willing
to be awakened from deep sleep
to wait in the darkness as long as I can wait.

Maxine Cassin
from her book The Other Side of Sleep
Portals Press, 1995

used with permission of the poet’s son and with special permission of Portals Press

Listen to John Gery reading Maxine Cassin’s
“Halley’s Comet”

Listen to Halley's Comet

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