Under Stars

By Tess Gallagher b. 1943 Tess Gallagher
The sleep of this night deepens
because I have walked coatless from the house
carrying the white envelope.
All night it will say one name
in its little tin house by the roadside.

I have raised the metal flag
so its shadow under the roadlamp
leaves an imprint on the rain-heavy bushes.
Now I will walk back
thinking of the few lights still on
in the town a mile away.

In the yellowed light of a kitchen
the millworker has finished his coffee,
his wife has laid out the white slices of bread
on the counter. Now while the bed they have left
is still warm, I will think of you, you
who are so far away
you have caused me to look up at the stars.

Tonight they have not moved
from childhood, those games played after dark.
Again I walk into the wet grass
toward the starry voices. Again, I
am the found one, intimate, returned
by all I touch on the way.

Tess Gallagher, "Under Stars" from Midnight Lantern: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2011 by Tess Gallagher.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: Midnight Lantern: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2011)

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Poet Tess Gallagher b. 1943

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Nature, Relationships, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Love, Romantic Love

Poetic Terms Imagery, Free Verse

 Tess  Gallagher

Biography

Poet, essayist, and short story writer Tess Gallagher was born in 1943 in Port Angeles, Washington, to a logging family. Her early years were marked by the rhythms of seasonal work, as well as the landscape of both the Northwest and the Ozarks, where her grandparents lived. “I don’t know how many children really get to explore vast amounts of territory like that,” she has said in interviews. “It builds something in you.” . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Relationships, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Love, Romantic Love

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Imagery, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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