The first I learned that starlight took thousands of years to reach us—that stars might have already burnt out when we see them. It felt like a revelation. I wondered what else might be over before we realize it. This thought revisited me over the years. The Christmas after my grandmother died, when I walked past her old house and singled out a star—past or present—to pray upon.
I think it’s the same star I look upon tonight out the window as my niece crawls over my body, a bit slower than her afternoon play, as she edges toward sleep. Her torso could fit in my hand last year. She is growing, living, aging, too young to think of fading and yet—
Tonight, she is burning hot against me. Too warm for her sweater. Bursting with light.
Michael Chin was born and raised in Utica, New York and writes and teaches in Corvallis, Oregon. He won the 2014 Jim Knudsen Editor’s Prize for fiction from the University of New Orleans and has previously published fiction and poetry in over twenty journals including Bayou Magazine, The Rappahannock Review, and The Pacific Review. Find him online at miketchin.com and on Twitter @miketchin.