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When my father wanted to point out galaxies

or Andromeda or the Seven Sisters, I’d complain

of the huzz of mosquitoes, or of the yawning

moon-quiet in that slow, summer air. All I wanted

was to go inside into our cooled house and watch TV

or paint my nails. What does a fifteen year-old girl

know of patience? What did I know of the steady turn

of whole moon valleys cresting into focus?

Standing there in our driveway with him,

I smacked my legs, my arms, and my face

while I waited for him to find whatever pinhole

of light he wanted me to see. At night, when I washed

my face, I’d find bursts of blood and dried bodies

slapped into my skin. Complaints at breakfast about

how I’d never do it again, how I have more homework

now, Dad. How I can’t go to school with bites all over

my face anymore. Now I hardly

ever say no. He has plans to go star-gazing

with his grandson and for once, I don’t protest.

He has plans. I know one day he won’t ask me,

won’t be there to show me the rings of Saturn

glowing gold through the eyepiece. He won’t be there

to show me how the moons of Jupiter jump

if you catch them on a clear night. I know

one day I will look up into the night sky

searching, searching— I know the mosquitoes

will still have their way with me—

and my father won’t hear me complain.