It wasn’t what drew me there,
but when I saw the Southern Cross
that year, visible all night down under,
turning with the hour,
it took me home, to my childhood
when I didn’t quite realize
what had risen
just above the horizon,
but I knew enough to know
I could keep that starry kite
if even for a little while
up above the boundary line.
I didn’t know it then, how special
the sighting was, my place in the world
far south enough to see it,
my hometown floating on the edge.
People looked right at the cross
and didn’t seem to notice
it was there
before it dipped below again.
Almost like a secret, that made it mine.
It was something I could turn to,
away from all the trouble,
and call my own.
Diane Thiel is the author of ten books of poetry and nonfiction, including Echolocations and Resistance Fantasies, among others. Her new book of poetry, Questions from Outer Space, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. Thiel's work has appeared in many journals, including Poetry, The Hudson Review, Rattle and the Sewanee Review and is re-printed in over sixty major anthologies. Her awards include a PEN award, the Robinson Jeffers Award, the Robert Frost Award, the Nicholas Roerich Award, an NEA Award, and she was a Fulbright Scholar. Thiel received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Brown University and is Professor of English and Associate Chair at the University of New Mexico. Thiel has traveled and lived in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia, working on literary and environmental projects.