Qi Xing Xi, the Chinese say.
Greeks pointed to the Big Bear.
And American slaves
followed the Drinking Gourd.
Tonight the Dipper stands on its handle
above Bethel Ridge, where today,
through binoculars, we spotted
on a bare slope a dozen black-tailed deer
browsing in gold grass.
Tonight, Christmas, we're out for shooting stars.
Old snow crunches underfoot like toast.
Friends, we've made it this far.
For the Bortons: Rich, Wendy, Brian, Jamie and David
Inside, our kids play blackjack by the fire.
Our kids don't like the bitter air
or understand why we shiver
out here and stare at the deep glittering.
Kids, like winter days, come and go.
Kids, like stars, are always.
We can make out spidery aspens,
hear the river sputter over stones.
They'll be fading soon.
They don't see us tumble
over the ridge toward the Seven Star Spoon.
They don't know we are migratory,
we are headed north.