Joshua Ward

The Hill at the Bottom of the Stars

Seven silhouettes stand atop
the coal black of a hill against
the claire de lune of town
before sinking down to the icy ground 
to let the swelling tide 
of a million pinhole lights 
reflect in our eyes.  Frosted blades 
of grass crunch beneath our bodies 
as we pile together, heads 
against shoulders, arms at sides, 
hearts to hearts. Taurus rears beside
the shield-bearer Orion, while the 
hounds gallop at the feet of their master 
through the doldrums of a cosmic ocean. 
Lying beneath the shimmering swarms 
of distant suns, under pouncing Leo
and leaping Lynx, I realize
how the fish must feel 
as they slumber at the bottom of the sea,
streams of plankton adrift above 
their lidless gazes as they roll 
with the gently crawling currents. 

Joshua Ward is a senior at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia; he is working towards a major in wildlife conservation and a minor in creative writing. He has previously been published in Silhouette, the school’s literature and arts magazine.  He hopes to continue developing his work throughout his time in the wildlife field, with the goal of publishing compilations of his nature poetry and wildlife photography; until then he can often be found combing the woods for birds early in the morning or mucking around in streams finding salamanders.

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