The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. X no. Z


Kate Farrell

Revised Interactive Map of the Skies

The archer who shoots the arrow

is not the centaur who drew the bow

in mythic maps of the heavens,

but another side of ourselves entirely —

a citizen who lives in freedom among

actual stars with a lofty brigade of

fellow thinkers sworn to oversee

the aspirations and proclivities of

those we think of as “us” — from

nomads lost in shelter-less mirages

of inner deserts — to a reader on a patio

who looks up from her book to say:

Oh, you know, like so many authors

these days, he throws out the baby

and bottles the bath water . . . .

Larger considerations are sifted in

border caves a la Lascaux. Equations

shimmer in the night air with sketches

of magical animals, colorful bird-people,

pilgrims in their respective trances;

the arrow shot so long ago, we

forget it’s coming and why, sailing

down and around, before striking

with astonishing timing the gigantic

stampeding mastodon-like creature

that collapses lifeless in the dust as it’s

about to trample us. And yet — who

can forget the betrayed surprise in

its eyes? The lonely clasp of

starry hooves to shaggy heart?