The Telescope

Brooke Slater

Before me what was there.

The tight skin of the sky was limp,
hanging low to mortal brows.

Then me and my crusted eye
became the nebula’s diplomat
signing the alchemic treaties
and feeding the earth’s brittle bones
to black jaws
and black seas.

They bowed heads to me!
Propped me up on folded Bibles,
held me with repenting palms,
and I was bigger than them.
Bigger than their kings,
and their glinting teeth.

And so I gave them the moon!
There with its pock-marked cheeks.

I crushed up the stars!
With pestle and mortar,
So that the divine dissolved on fuzzy tongues.

I was the other Icarus,
the one that kissed the rings of the sun,
the one with fortified wings.

But now the seraphim moths
eat away at the earth’s skin
and the humans sit sick and full

having devoured me.