Dust We Are, Dust We Become

by Jacob Butlett

They say we are made of stars, our cells entwined with the universe. We drift around one another around a sun whose radiance grasps our hair and thighs as the skies explode into indigo. A meadowlark’s yawn teeters on our fingertips as we stretch outside our tents, gaze at the stars retreating like canaries backing into their cages of blinding dawn. History steps forth from canopies to remind us of those who looked at these stars before: explorers daydreaming on their weather-beaten boats, queens strolling through groves of gardenia blossoms, bald children glancing out hospital windows, soldiers flinging grenades across the moon before they shower bone-breaking dust across the world. Meanwhile, we sleep or eat, fish or wish for another sunset, another daybreak, another hour yet to forget how small we are—neither an ocean nor its waves, but starlight convulsing on the surface. They say we are made of stars, but even stars eventually shrivel into themselves, a silent detonation even light cannot embrace at the end of the day. Yet we exist, still drifting, still singing, until our suns finally settle behind our eyes.