Apollo ambles through the observatory
unheeded. He tilts a telescope, gazes,
lets it glow in the ambient light
of his fingertips before recoiling,
blinded by the sunrise. You will not find this
in myth books. He made sure of it.
This is the moment he shakes
free, cuts the new fires from his toes,
alights into the shade unburdened & redacted.
The gloxinia buds bend to his muted light still.
Come dawn, when the astronomer is dozing,
Apollo hurries, lapping at the dew
that evaporates with a glance, chasing owls and
bats that flap away beyond his reach.
Apollo sometimes steals the stellarium key,
prays that the metal nubs will not
dissolve in his palm. Sometimes, he prays
that his tanned ankles might lose their luster.
They won’t. Instead, he does what he can
to feel nocturnal leaves his fingerprints
on penciled constellations, sneaks armfuls
of astrolabes back through the morning
to his chariot. Holds Cassiopeia to sunlight for study
like a two-headed cat or an ancient coin.
As he thumbs through, diagrams slice his hands
open and red as a sunburn. Soon, the mortals will rise.
Soon, the God of the Light must return to his
new duties burying Helios, lending
brightness to each note of poetry, beaming
sweat across the land’s epidermis,
all the while yearning for night. Until then,
he will rattle the astrolabes for their clarion call.
Pace, relentless, towards the distant dim.
Revel in the paper stars on his knees.