Stars at my fingertips

Stars at my fingertips - student project

The smoke in the smell of cypress trees makes my throat feel fuzzy. Like I haven't brushed or flossed in days, and there are spoiled leaves stuck in between my teeth. Under each of my tastebuds, the bitterness of death pools, so when I speak, the words fleeing my mouth compose a funeral song. My hot breath mixes with the cool night air and reaches all the way up to the stars.
Some say that you become a star when you die. But I thought we were already stars, born from the gasses left behind from great bursts of supernovas over a billion years ago. I've been told on more than one occasion that I am starry-eyed? Is that why the night sky feels more like a mirror than a looking glass?
I lay down on the grass and stare up into the ink-stained sky. The stars feel closer than they ever have before. Did they band together and lasso the earth to pull it closer, or did I will them to surf on the breeze waves to bring them closer to me? I am confident that if I reached up on my tippy toes wearing my highest heels, I might be able to grab one. Feel its white-hot heat sting my palm, and brand me forever the way a farmer marks his cows. I realize that I am wearing black converse low tops, so there will be no ceremonial scorching or blistered fingers. The ever-present olive trees' fresh green perfume won't dry down to unfold the scent of singed flesh tonight.
In the distance, church bells begin ringing out in the village. The sounds from where I stand are no match for the clanging metal. The dings cut through the swishing and swaying of the trees, the burble of the stream, and the warble of the birds. The chatter of the forest creatures come to an abrupt halt, and so do I. Each vibration shakes a thought from my head until I forget what I am doing entirely.
I abandon my dark green cloak and make my way back to civilization. The chill bumps on my thighs and forearms dissipate as I walk toward the village. Light is spilling out of windows and taking the shine away from the stars. They feel further away than ever.
Even though I am somber, a marmalade-colored cat trots toward me, trilling in a high-pitched burst of song and merriment. I bend down to rub her fluffy belly, and she begins purring loudly. The moonlight catches her nametag and momentarily blinds me. I refocus my eyes and learn that her name is Stella. I smile, knowing the stars are forever at my fingertips.

Lynne Tanzer
Writer. Mother. Mixtape Maker.