Waterworld by John C. Mannone

John C. Mannone

     We shall not cease from exploration
     And the end of all our exploring
     Will be to arrive where we started
     And know the place for the first time.
                   —T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets


Twilight air, thin.
     Sun, setting hot red
        fills the sky scarlet,

yet the ocean, thick
with cool salty chalk,
ripples over my smooth

arms finning the wetness,
    my head barely above
       the ebb in the shallows.

I stare at the blackness
of space, unveiling
a million suns sifting

through cosmic dust. I ask,
     Can you see the center,
         that dazzle in Sagittarius?

My daughter squints through
the special glass. I wonder
if she thinks about midnight

worlds that canopy the sky
       with light. Those planets
             pinned on ends of the ecliptic,

shiny giant beads, one ringed
with crystals, the other reddish
brown with moons, so many moons.

I heard it on the news today.
       They found another one perhaps
               like ours, a world that shook

its sun. Can you see it? I say,
That star, near Omicron tauri!
They think it has a water world

a hundred million miles
       from its sun,
          its bright yellow sun.

Now hurry, we must dive deep.
The sun will soon shift from shadow
and the air is much too thin.


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