Martin Elster

Midnight Walk

As Arcturus sinks into the west
and Vega winks as if in jest
and Cygnus floats on the filmy milk
     of the Galaxy as slow
and stately as an ocean liner
overlooked by Ursa Minor,
as Lyra strums a song of silk
     joined by Scorpio,

who shakes his tail in a raucous rattle,
while Hercules sings songs of battle,
three figures in the moonless night
     meander by the cedar
across ten billion blades of grass
with beads of dew as bright as brass,
lost beneath the cosmic light—
     two canines and their leader.

While the biped scans the universe
as if it were a puzzle in verse,
the dogs explore the ancient scroll
     of Earth’s vast potpourri.
One studies distant suns while tripping
on roots and stones, another’s dripping
from dipping himself in the swimming hole,
    while the third one sniffs a tree.

As the stars revolve but never change
and a mockingbird shows off his range
and bullfrogs croak and crickets croon
    and katies katydid,
while bats hunt bugs by ultrasound
and a rabbit bounds and a fox slinks round,
the threesome amble to a tune 
    outside the city’s lid.

The thing they have in common? All
have heard the night’s magnetic call.

Martin Elster, who never misses a beat, was for many years a percussionist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Martin’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies in the US and abroad. His honors include First Place in the Traditional Sonnet category of the 2022 Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest, Rhymezone’s poetry contest (2016) co-winner, the Thomas Gray Anniversary Poetry Competition (2014) winner, the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s poetry contest (2015) third place, four Pushcart nominations, and a Best of the Net nomination. A full-length collection, Celestial Euphony, was published by Plum White Press in 2019.