Janitor Moonlighting, by Joseph Milford

Joseph Milford
JANITOR MOONLIGHTING

The candelabra of the stars’ canopy above me.
I adore urns, domes, and gourds;
all shine in an await of shattering.
I eat crackers all night while pushing
the dustmop through the detritus
of the floor of the planetarium.
My job is to sweep up what is left
of the stricken spectators.
How many of us can sustain that interest
when viewing the ceilings and walls of
the gyroscope of anon? The sidereal
rays from the projector more real
than those shafts that have traveled
light years outside the dome.
Signs sometimes should be heeded.
I’m beyond that, and numbed beyond
all belief by the brilliance
of one tiny nail-hole in an otherwise
immaculate plaster wall in the hall.
One center of focal decision was rooted there,
a puncture. A small star of its own.
Something was hammered-in, then undone,
pulled out, the ghost of the event jettisoned.
In other words, I tend to work
In the observatory of long hours alone.
The planetarium has taught me
to notice particulars. I did not outdo my teachers
as Pythagoras did Thales.
Minimum wage and vending machine fare
entail more for me than Meton’s lunar year.
Under the structures of the baffling, under
the balcony I envision, they were all
ravenously chawing popcorn
as the Euclidian production suddenly glitches
in its production, and then no catcalls
because instinctually the audience knows
that this isn’t the actual end of the universe.
The technician quickly gets
The Cosmos going again.
Ironically, irony will have endless sequels.
What particle, what iota, what mote
Stopped the explanation of the monad
and the stellar apparatus? What virus
paused the supernova software?
What grain of the eternal,
I imagine? A nail-hole, a kernel, a formula,
a star. An instance under a canopy,
a ceiling made in the likeness of a sky–
that irony again. I do my mundane sweeping
beneath this. We all do our sweeping
up of the moondust beneath this.

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