The Star Thief

One night, I found myself staring at the
termite-infested ceiling of our house, imagining that
the wooden flecks raining down on me
were pieces of a shooting star,
and I held each bit between my lips until
I had enough to make a wish.

But what would I even wish for?
The possibilities unfolded before me
like a map of the universe,
and my mother’s voice whispered
in my head: “Choose wisely.”

One star led to the past,
To a kinder father and a prettier face,
To being born in a gentler place
where the sun is never harsh.

The other stars pointed to several distant futures,
and I drowned in the infinities each one holds:
I can be nothing
I can be anything
I can be everything.

But the voice inside me was dying
And the stars were already flickering out,
So I blew at the pieces of the sky
between my lips
and I wished for a good night’s sleep.

By Mar Somera