for John and Seana
To the telescope, each star is solitary,
a thousand lifetimes removed from its nearest kin,
circled by lesser flecks and swarming dust,
condemned to flare and gutter, brilliant and alone.
These cosmic distances cannot be diminished.
To come to understand the lonesome suns
we put away our explorer's instruments
and turn a less intrepid eye inward,
holding silent for the slow wonders found there.
In the star's private heart,
beneath its brilliant skin, two atoms,
each, apart, a simple perfect planet,
merge and are reformed as a new substance
with an energy neither could attain alone.
This is simple, and it requires faith in the unseen.
It is invisible to us, the subatomic joining—
we can only know its traces and its signs.
We gather together to confirm your fusion,
to observe the incandescent forging of a new sun,
to marvel at the miracle of this endless combination,
to share your offered warmth and light,
and join you to the blazing order of the night.