There are stars sewn under my skin. I used to keep them in my pockets, but they fell out too easily; I lost them in tall grass and bounding up stairs. Once I climbed a tree over a creek in the middle of nowhere and hanging upside down, saw reflected my dismayed look when more than one sprinkled down to the surface, floating away to Somewhere.
And so I learned, not quickly, absolutely or painlessly, but I learned. I learned that stars can be lost. All their soft, shimmering resilience is now tucked away where I can feel their slight pulse between muscle and dermis. It is comforting to keep them safe.
In recent days, though, I have realized my pupils are empty buckets, homesick for their light. Are they still luminous there in the bloody dark, unseen? I’ve wondered more than once when I’ve thought how bereft a crescent moon looks alone in the sky.
Wikipedia and Leonard Nimoy tell me that stars are not eternal – they can die; and when they do, they change the gravity of lives worlds away. Stars do not die quietly. Dying stars kill. That I am here to wonder at their life, it seems they must be living still.
That is the secret, then, that goes with me everywhere: under my skin I am a million points of light.
Tonight I am only wondering if the tragedy is an unlit night sky, or a scalpel.