stars fell on alabama

Stars Fell on Alabama

Stars fell on Alabama
& people who hadn’t
been out of bed
in weeks because of
acute depression
made their way
on trembling legs
to pull back the curtain &
stare in amazement.
In Birmingham traffic
(light as it was at that hour)
came to a standstill &
the countryside
outside the cities
pulsed with pools of
blue light.

 

It wasn’t like
the scientists had
told them.
Stars weren’t
gigantic balls of fire
like the sun,
they were flat &
shaped like the
star on top of the
Christmas tree,
like the stars we
all drew in kindergarten
when the teacher said,
“Draw me a sky picture.”

 

They were no more than
three feet in circumference,
some of them lying
flat on the ground
some caught in the
branches of trees
some with one of their
points embedded in
the earth.

 

At first people
stood in awe &
just stared,
but gradually they
began moving in close &
the bravest among them
reached out &
touched them.
They were cool
to the touch,
smooth & lighter
than they looked.
People began
picking them up &
holding them close
like babies,
laughing softly &
shaking their heads.
There were
millions of them,
but by sunrise they’d
all been gathered &
stored in
basements & attics.

 

The next morning
was like any other,
except no one
turned on their radios
or televisions &
everyone walked
to where they were going.
Up in space
a spy satellite
picked up a
warning signal &
trained its cameras &
listening devices
on Alabama,
holding them there
until disappearing
around the earth’s
curvature.

 

What the satellite
sent back to earth
translated into
soft lilting melody,
& at CIA headquarters
in Langley,
people drifted into
the parking lots &
looked skyward,
a hand held to their eyes.

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