Driving from Perth south to Margaret River,
late in a warm and velvet evening
my friend pulled off the road
onto a dirt track where we bumped and swayed.
A fenced-off field on one side,
rows of vines on the other.
I turned to ask where we were going.
‘Wait’ he said.
Slowly onward some minutes more.
slow rocking in the dim glow from a moonless sky.
He cut the engine. ‘Wait.’
We sat in silence, the vine rows black on dark.
‘We can get out now.’
Electric insect noises, horses snuffling nearby, smell of manure.
‘Look up,’ he said.
A smear of muted colours spread across the sky
bright, clear, benumbing, our Milky Way
as this city boy had never seen it.

From the viewing platform of our remote planet,
a billion stars spread out below me.
‘The centre of our galaxy is there,’ he pointed,
his finger tip blacked out stars, nebulae, galaxies.
He seemed to know his way around.
I looked inward at that blurred and bulging glow,
for a moment fearing I might stumble,
fall forward down into that central light
and on and on into the black hole at its heart.


PastedGraphic-4Kieran Egan lives in Vancouver. His first poetry collection, Amplified Silence, was published by Silver Bow Publishing in 2021. His chapbook, Among the branches, was published by Alfred Gustav Press, Vancouver, (2019). A novel, Tenure, (a combination of comic campus thriller) was published by NeWest Press, 2021. He was shortlisted for the Times Literary Supplement Mick Imlah prize in 2017, and the Acumen International Poetry Competition, 2020, and his poems have appeared in the Canadian magazines Event, Canadian Literature, Quills, Literary Review of Canada, Dalhousie Review, Grain, Qwerty, Antigonish Review, Vallum, Canadian Quarterly, Ekphrastic Review, Spadina Literary Review, Pace, English Bay Review, Prairie Fire, and in many US and UK magazines. 


This poem was originally published in Vallum issue 17:2 Space.

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