Glass Zodiac, 1996

There’s a reason the astronomy prof said
we don’t as we don’t remember our birth
remember the first eye we look into
or else it remembers us all

Remember he went on Galileo’s tragedies
they will be on your final
disbelief failure punishment
disgrace naming names almost turning the self in

but what do we know
disbelievers yawning in stadium seats
on my desk planet acronyms
(Mary’s virginity ended memorably
joyfully she unbuckled nine passerby)

we want out like the guy
in the learn’d astronomer poem
the outside sky full of its urban blight
broken-bottle glass and broken windows theories
and the zodiac imaginary or too ingenious

not to break like glass animals
wanting out so we can go back in
the gun in the parlor we pay for it to send
bolts through our tongues
so it will teach us a new language
make frescoes on us
nothing to do with armor nor carnage

but class isn’t over yet
Pluto still the ninth and last
but not for long he said a fake planet
then a painted fake of the planet a slide
he beams on the screen

followed by a photo of a human eye
planetary monstrous
a reason we don’t remember
he said or else it remembers us all

Michael Tyrell teaches writing in the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. He is the author of the poetry collections Phantom Laundry (UK: Backlash Press, 2017) and The Wanted (US: The National Poetry Review Press, 2012) and his poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Agni, The Best American Poetry 2015, Fogged Clarity, The New England Review, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and The Yale Review. With Julia Spicher Kasdorf, he edited the anthology Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn (US: NYU Press, 2007).