Margaret Holley: “Fractal Nocturne”


At 2 a.m., he turns on the light over the stove.
Out the window the moon is so bright it makes
the yard and bushes seem dusted with snow.

He is warming some milk in a saucepan
to buffer an aspirin. The stars are tiny pinpricks,
silent, pulsing, the Milky Way so faint you can

hardly follow its path across the sky, hardly
believe how surely we’re held in it arms. He stirs
a teaspoon of sugar into the milk—latte dolce.

This is a nightly ritual now. He’ll stir till
the first puff of steam signals that it’s the right
temperature to pour and drink. Our spiral galaxy

wheels through the universe like an endlessly
flung frisbee. The milk swirls in the pan.

Margaret Holley’s fifth book of poems is Walking Through the Horizon (University of Arkansas Press). Her work has appeared in Poetry, Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, Southern Review, and many other journals. Former director of Bryn Mawr College’s Creative Writing Program, she currently serves as a docent at Winterthur Museum.

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