Pluto: A Love Story


On clear Kansas nights,
we drove out of town
to drink up on the prairie.
It was an unobstructed sky,
the light pollution of a city
100 miles east. We laughed
and sometimes talked about poetry.
I don’t remember seeing
a single moon.


Clyde Tombaugh lived
188 miles west and slightly south.
The skies must have been
even darker there.
I wonder if he ever looked up
through his homemade scope
on a late fall night
while the sound of dry corn husks
scratched at his ear.


I moved east.
Tombaugh moved west.
We each began to see things.
Tombaugh moved on to bigger
and better telescopes.
I looked through my first.
Slowly, a planet came into view
for both of us.
And somewhere in Kansas,
a wheat field was dancing with us.

  1. gregorymccabe said:

    I’ve come back to this entry several times. Today I remembered a May Pole event in elementary school.
    The May pole became the axis of the Sun and we became orbiting planets each with a unique axis. I became a Moonbeam before losing my concentration. There was also needed closure during the event. We all changed
    schools after that and some of us said goodbye. I felt I should tell you that story as you helped it resurface with
    your stories help.
    The maypole is a good way to understand the parallax for me

    • Thank you so much for sharing this personal connection to the poem! And such a lovely telling of the story.

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