In the Planetarium

By James Doyle James Doyle
I read the palms of the other
kids on the field trip to see
which ones would grow up

to be astronauts. The lifeline
on Betty Lou’s beautiful hand
ended the day after tomorrow,

so I told her how the rest
of our lives is vastly over-rated,
even in neighboring galaxies.

When she asked me how I knew
so much, I said I watched
War of the Worlds six times

and, if she went with me to
the double-feature tomorrow,
I’d finish explaining the universe.

I smiled winningly. The Halley’s Comet
lecture by our teacher whooshed in
my one ear and out the other.

Poem copyright © 2012 by James Doyle, from his most recent book of poems, The Long View Just Keeps Treading Water, Accents Publishing, 2012. Poem reprinted by permission of James Doyle and the publisher.

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Poet James Doyle



Doyle was born in New York City and grew up in the Bronx. He is the author of Einstein Considers a Sand Dune (2004), winner of the 2003 Steel Toe Books Poetry Prize, and Bending Under the Yellow Police Tapes (2007). Doyle worked in Wisconsin politics and taught before retiring; he lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with this wife, poet Sharon Doyle.

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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