In All Directions

by Mike Helsher


Have you ever wished to touch a star?

Look to the end of your finger

While pointing toward a clear night sky,

And it almost feels like a possibility.


But the stars are touching us:

Their eons old photons

Touch the retina in the back of our eyes,

Whenever we look up at them.


They inspire Astronomy to teach that from a speck of orange light,

Which took 640 light years to get here

We can tell that Betelgeuse is 700 times the size of our sun.

In our solar system, it would fill out to the orbit of Jupiter.


They feed Physics to calculate that if the atoms in an apple

Were the size of a grain of sand, the apple would be as big as the earth.

So how big would Betelgeuse be then?

If all of its atoms were the size of a grain of sand?


They seed in me the idea to think Spherically:

There’s a supersized Betelgeuse in this universe

Behind my eyes that can shrink to the size of an atom,

With a flick of my imagination.


They whirl me up, in, down and round on my insides,

Out about the twinkles and dense clouds;

The stillness of the speed of light

Rocks me to cosmic sea-sickness…


They made the good Earth under my feet,

I can feel her weight, her molten-iron core–

An ancient treasure, buried deep:

The cause of death for many stars. 


They call me with the yearning for the unseen,

Floating far out on the underside of the earth:

For black holes and quasars, and a dying super-sized Betelgeuse

That will give birth to an ultra-nova!


They left for me, out amidst the exploding mega-stars,

A dash of star-vapor—a thought:

On an oscilloscope in a remote observatory in Chile,

An etch of a faint radio wave tells of a Big Bang:

The beginning of everything, moving without end.


And now, they move my fingers to make these words,

We touch, as I type on the edge of the infinite

Space spreading out from beneath them,

In all directions