Jerl Surratt
Speaking As a Child

Being that this thing I am
is in some part the very dust
of a bright star that I’ve been taught
to single out and call Arcturus,
I wonder on this summer night
what’s happening with the star
I’m fondest of, imagining
of all the stars you are the one
that I am most made of?

Are you as yet still bright as when
the bodies you were captured in
were born at the same time as me
in all Time’s zones around the world,

Or dimmed a little bit by now,
the now we never see from here,
your energy so radiant
another star eons ago
grew envious while drifting by
just close enough to siphon off
some of your outmost rays,

Or are you brighter still,
if imperceptibly as yet to us,
for having faintly flared because
within your heart, your core,
the heat your life depends upon
has almost reached the point at which
it cannot be contained and you’ve
begun to die, as all stars must?

Here on my back on a quilt
on the grass, an old quilt
mother’s let me have,
I’m asking childish questions
while I can. More fun to ask
sometimes and not to know
what is in store for you
while I’m still young and still
aglow for being unaware

of all that is in store for me,
while I daydream by night
and stare into the meadows
of the Bear, the Northern Crown
nearby and feel your energy
alive in me, your heat, your dust
my guiding light, Arcturus.