The 2River View 28.4 (Summer 2024)

Diane Thiel

Astronomical Dawn

Indistinguishable from night in most cities,
but in distant, quiet places
or in the middle of an ocean,
we can see it happening.
Who knew there were all these official stages
before the rosy-fingered change into day—
the astronomical twilight,
leading to nautical dawn,
the beginning of nautical twilight
when the horizon is barely visible,
then civil dawn, leading to civil twilight
and finally our familiar sunrise, with its
misleading name in the constant      
turning of the earth.

If not a morning person,                                                        
we might not care much about dawn
and would rather ponder
all the stages on the other side.
But sometimes life will
turn us over
before we know what happened,
and though the spin
might come too soon
for a night owl disposition,
we might suddenly understand
that even in this small sliver
of time we are given,
so much can happen.


Of Water and Stars

We can find the stars in our strands,
but we are also water, mostly                       
fluid like this current,
until we try to
contain it,
and it hardens into bone.

I try to keep it from hardening
too soon, so I can still find my way
through the water, through the particles
of stars, infused with a light
we can’t quite containor convey.

Diane Thiel, a Regents’ Professor at the University of New Mexico, is the author of twelve books. Her latest book of poetry, Questions from Outer Space (Red Hen Press 2022), received the 2023 Independent Press Book Award. Her work appeared in Best American Poetry 2023. website
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