Polaris Abandoned

by Bethany Lee

An enhanced image of the Milky Way at night.

The north star has fallen
It’s still there, in the sky
but we’ve tilted away
and it’s no longer a reliable guide

We’re wobbling between polestars
and everyone believes
they know which to trust
No one wants to admit we’re adrift

The north star has fallen
I’m afraid to tell the passengers
They think it’s the navigator’s job
to get us all back home again
I don’t want to be the one to say
there’s no going back

This is the sort of news
messengers get shot for
and I know exactly how fast
I’d sink if they tossed me over

It seems to be a bad time
to be setting off on a voyage
with all these unpredictable suns
circling the night sky
but now is the only time we’ve got
and we can’t stay here

The north star has fallen
but that’s okay
We’re heading south

Bethany Lee
Bethany Lee, author of The Breath Between and Etude for Belonging from Fernwood Press, lives in Lafayette, OR, at the edge of the woods. Her writing is inspired by the space at the edge—her experiences as a hospice harpist, a year spent traveling at sea, and the deep silence of her Quaker practice.