In the desert your compass is cast skyward
for a night that pulls its collar tight.
Scientists place cardboard hats on beetles
to cover the dorsal eyes, obscure the Milky Way.
Stars are points on the chart, light fixtures,
like crumbs dropped on the path.
Polaris for dead reckoning,
but with nothing to draw a dotted line from—
wouldn’t you know they trample each other,
go in circles, disoriented like drunks?
When life hands you lemons
remember you hatched in dung.
You make a world of it, a brooding ball,
like Atlas, the sky is a map on your shoulders.
Rolling across the desert,
manning the observatory.