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Diane Tucker was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she got a B.F.A. from the University of B.C. in 1987. Nightwood Editions published her first book of poems, God on His Haunches, in 1996. Since then she's completed two more poetry manuscripts and a novel, all of which remain unpublished, though their hobby is still going abroad, visiting many kind editors who like them but have not yet asked any of them to stay. Diane has a keenly understanding husband, two scandalously beautiful children and a houndy mutt named Doxa.

Monday's Poem

© Diane Tucker

The Balcony

You like the stars best:
once known, they stay the same.
Known in the way you love to know:
names, positions,
how far from one another.

You walk back and forth
on the balcony, naming
as though introducing me
to some beloved relations:
"...my great aunt Cassiopeia,
cousins Castor and Pollux,
and Uncle Jupiter,
you must meet good old Jupiter."

I just wish you
and this crazy, cold family
would go away.
Equally possible, of course—
you going away
and Sirius going out, like a ski-run light
on a distant mountainside, snapped off.
I may as well wish away
my own legs.

This is why you like the stars:
they like you back.
This they prove by never moving,
staying where you can pin them
with your binoculars, match them to the chart,
be sure where they'll be tomorrow,
red and yellow and white, shimmering.

Finally alone on the balcony,
I push out breath in noisy puffs
to see the dull pewter
star-and-street light
reflect off my exhalations.
I prefer, I tell myself, to learn
without maps.

But the starfield tonight is all aloof,
full of closed faces, impenetrable.
The original cosmic clique.

Until one seems to sprout a tail,
etches a path over Saturn,
a fading, delicate arc,
then goes out.
I grip the balcony railing,
the thread of silver
a knifepoint across my heart.

It says they move.
It says they fall.
It says
if you watch
if you are faithful
the night may open

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