At birth a slow star
bursts inside us, its

heat expanding as
the smoke of a growing

fire billows as young
flesh fills outward

the smoke dilating, seen
into its dissipation

unseeable, as a face
rounds into itself, then

(slow!) breaks-shatters
first into lines, star-

like, streaking from
the eye’s edge, the path

of heat’s leaving a slow
glow, age’s radiance,

the rays we live outward
to oblivion, scattering

husks, leaving what’s heavy,
the darkness after stars


Herman Asarnow‘s poems, essays, and translations have appeared in The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, Tar River Poetry, West Branch, Potomac Review, Southern Humanities Review, Marlboro Review, and other journals.