The City and the Stars

Beyond the window the night.
Beyond the night the city
in panicles of light.
Beyond the city a universe
of galaxies and stars, the black hole
of extinction, the stellar furnaces
of creation, heat and life —
electrons that dance a thin corolla
around the scrum of the nucleus
and the flicker of photons
fired from stars that plunge
towards crescendos of nothing,
the vertigo of infinity
and the limits of the mind.
From the darkened cabin
of a jumbo, look down
through forty thousand feet
of brittle air,
the cities of the Persian Gulf,
orange flowers of light
as if in bending down from space
you gently snap
the petals and hold them
in the palm of your hand.
Beyond the window is the night.
Beyond the night is the city.
Only the city. Only the night.