Belief requires lack of proof:
I think there will be stars because
they’re gone. Now you.
Now that you’ve gone
to prove again what absence takes
(the planetary heart, the stars)
I know belief as true. Thank you.
Blank verse. That’s what the sky
is made of: stars unrhymed,
imagined lines, disordered,
from satellite to moonshot,
wrought down here, by hand.
A line that stops—from me to you.
I know the stars, or one:
I know just how to spin within a hole
until the sun comes up.
Belief the planet turns requires proof:
absence, sense, a place
I’ll never see, payloads
rocketed into the sky.
Belief will end. Stop. Stop.
It ends—if you are gone.
Alan Michael Parker is Douglas C. Houchens Professor of English at Davidson College. He is the author of seven collections of poems, including Long Division, winner of the 2012 North Carolina Book Award, and three novels, including The Committee on Town Happiness (Dzanc Books, 2014). He has been awarded three Pushcart Prizes, the Fineline Prize from the Mid-American Review, the 2013 Randall Jarrell Poetry Award, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. New work of his has recently appeared or will appear in American Poetry Review, The Believer, The New Republic, Slate, and The Yale Review. He directs the creative writing program at Davidson College, and is a Core Faculty member in the Queens University low-residency M.F.A. program. For more information, see: www.amparker.com.