Mystery by Joan Kwon Glass

When stars wander from their place of origin,
a galaxy might form. Astronomers propose reasons
for their departure–they are cast out by young star systems
or become energized by molecular clouds.
Some theorize that cloud collapse is the main thing–
something about velocity and spatial offset.
What they can’t agree on is how galaxies form.
Whether clouds of dust and gas, exhausted
by the pull of gravity, become stars or if the new
universe is just a bunch of cosmic trash
finding its way toward other cosmic trash.
Either way, they are infant stars that have found
a way out. When I was ten, I left my house
for a bike ride and came back with a sudden
smattering of freckles across my right knee.
At least that’s how I remember it.
A high school boyfriend later joked that maybe
I’d been abducted by aliens who left their mark,
then decided to release me–proof that we are
not alone in the universe, hope that one day we
will understand what all of this has been for
and what has always been possible.
But even at 17, I was uninterested in mysteries
anyone else claimed answers to.
I rolled my eyes at him and shook my head–
look, maybe I don’t need to know how it happened.
Maybe one day, I just walked out
of the house, exhausted by gravity.
And a whole galaxy found her way home.

— from Juniper Volume 7, Issue 3