By Ben Groner III

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Rambling through the brown hills and
rumpled ridges from the observatory

that reminded me every element in
my body (carbon, calcium, nitrogen,

hydrogen, phosphorus, and the like)
came from an ancient star—but

all I can think about are swaths of
star-drenched redwoods, stippled starfish,

all the star-crossed lovers in the world who
shoot past each other, just out of reach.

In these moments after the molten sun
has sunk under the Pacific, a raw wind

whipping through the ribs of the Jeep and
my friend’s bare shoulder leaning into

my own tank-topped chest, I gaze up,
past the slender palms and power lines

to the glimmering specks in the dark
purple ocean of the sky, and consider

how the chemicals were put to better use.

Ben Groner III