They say it’s distance – the stars so far,

the planets near – the weak light bending

as it hits the atmosphere, and the planets

lacking their own light, instead reflecting

the strong light of the sun.


Weakness and distance, creating the

shimmer that has enchanted lovers and

philosophers, farmers and kings… still

the light flickers at us down below

as the steady planets shine constant.


On my street, a neighbor yells his dog

in for the night, and another annoys

the entire street with his daily leaf-

blower ritual, while cars wend home

from work and dogs are walked


for the last time of the day, as our star

shines around the other side, leaving us

in shadow. Weakness and distance, they say

which I think is wrong. The light that

comes from such singular distance has


the strength of persistence and endurance,

light bent by the strength of atmosphere,

but not broken. While below, neighbors

watch each other, alert for any sign of

need which they can help to ease.


Judith McKenzie is a recent winner in the Cunningham Short Story Contest and Tillie Olsen Short Story Contest. Her poems have been published in Poetic Bond X, Tishman Review, Rogue River Review, Mountains and Lake, Wild Roof Journal, Sad Girls Club, Halcyone Magazine, Scribd and others.

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