On Planet Uranus

“Until now nobody had a clue the rings were there;
we had no right to expect them.”
           — Dr. Mark Showalter, planetary astronomer

The universe’s skies are born into the wide
from great ice bellies, the forges where cold burns

past the spectrum of heat, past sense, past
imagining. Where time is something like a figure

of speech, the decay of a statue. A moon clock
hangs about the blue sphere, marble faces

eager for collusion. How does a void encounter
such noise, the ringing of debris? From caves burst

flocks of house sparrows, forged in Pilgrim Glass
and glowing on cobalt wings, tails

pulled and beaks pinched. Blue is impossible
to contain. Wing over wing, they extend

the frozen core, the youngest, feathers still warm
and liquid, against the sphere’s outer edge, a blanket

soft against space’s black boundary. For forty years
of constant light those in sun sing to the shadowed:

birds near the curve sense the possibility of glow,
the tenderness of sound and faceted, flashing throats.

Empty vessels sustain on waves. The pulse
of a planet. Akimbo poles disguised as equators turn

with the ambition of inevitability, the agony of mass,
a patience for mornings. Axis becomes a way of thinking.