One afternoon, last October,
I saw a red star falling.
Transfixed, I thought of socialism
and the death of it in the minds
of those who believe in it.
None of my friends are socialists.
All of my friends believe they are socialists.
I thought of fascism,
how that too is a red star.
Not falling, rising.
I heard black words, the fear of becoming static.
And in the night, the sky devoid of light,
there was that red star. I watched it wander,
descend or rise. Neither matters.
Lost, I imagined it to be the last star
ever to shine. Call it a plane, my friend said later.
No, I told him. It has to be a star.
Red as the heart of war.
Red as blood on a tunnel’s long wall.
Red as a deep cut that will always bleed.
Eventually, it stopped falling.
We drank the gin and I told my friend
that I believed, utterly, that if we went
outside right there and then we would
see many more red stars. Rising and falling.
We would hear their formation in the hushed,
stunned conversation of those around us.
The fear of truth. The need to find a lie.
We stayed, we drank, and in the morning
it was bright and there were no stars.