Alienate

They don’t tell you there are fewer stars
in some places than others.
The city frightens them
with the threat of their obsoleting, and they hide to save
their light. There are fewer stars in places where personhood
is loudest.

They don’t tell you alienation is spelled
in unfamiliar constellations. Astronomic signposts dip
out of sight, occluded by some dark enormity
as the jet crew slides the planet
between you and your homeland lights.

You lack context and it shows.

Streetlights here are a strange colour, stirred and filtered
through pigment washes of aged grime, graffiti, someone’s
mistake, someone’s
purse, the rats–records of changing walkways, a sky
they mirror and defy.

You have been told there are so many lights in every city
that they are visible from space stations–even the highways, traceable
with one’s finger against orbital glass. You envy astronauts because
through those interstitial windows, they might still glimpse
familiarity.

Standing deep in the city’s gullet, you clumsily
triangulate the route
of your signal beacon home.

A subway ceiling intercepts it, humming its reply.