Observatory                                                                           by Amy Sage Webb-Baza

The same day China lands   
a probe on the moon   
the Arecibo Observatory   
crashes in on itself.   
The parallel and opposite   
pulls of aspiration and collapse   
seem exactly apt for this year   
that began with so much   
hope, optimism in everyone   
I knew, a view that a new page   
was turning, a renewed energy   
and purpose suddenly   
shattered and shuttered   
in isolation and uncertainty.   
I should leave it at that, another   
metaphor for a year that is   
already a meme, but I keep   
thinking of Arecibo listening   
long decades, awaiting   
contact, warning us   
of cosmic dangers   
veering close.   
I think of its shattered   
shell, the deaf ear,   
the silence   
from which one wakes   
too late to a storm.  

Amy Sage Webb-Bazais Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Emporia State University, where she was named Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor and directs the Donald Reichardt Center for Publishing and Literary Arts. She is managing editor for Bluestem Press and Flint Hills Review. She publishes fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, and is author of Your Own Life: Kansas Stories (Woodley Press, 2012).  

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals asTheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.  

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