Aurora Borealis

When the sky lit up
at midnight, in the vague
direction of the nuclear
power plant, it’s no wonder
my mom started to cry, swept
us inside. We’re decidedly south
of the Mason-Dixon line –
we never saw her coming.
A name like Aurora trickles
off my tongue, clogs
my throat like cinnamon. She’s
a flash of tomorrow
in our stagnant hometown
sky. When I told my high school
astronomy class about her, my teacher
told me it was impossible,
I’d made it up, I didn’t know
what I’d seen, but it was the goddess
of dawn gliding
too far down the sky, shooting
off her fireworks
above the gaseous diffusion
plant, a winter gift
for hick-town nobodies
like us. She kept us up all night
with her glow of something secret.