Copyright © 2012 Pirene's Fountain.


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John C. Mannone, nominated three times for the Pushcart, has work in the Baltimore Review, Conclave, New Mirage Journal, Tipton Poetry Journal, Pedestal, Rose Red Review, The Hellroaring Review, Curio Poetry, Vermillion Literary Project, Medulla Review, Glass, Lucid Rhythms, Pirene’s Fountain and others. He’s the poetry editor for Silver Blade, an adjunct professor of physics, and a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. Visit The Art of Poetry at


A Glass of Stella

          Comet Holmes brightened dramatically
          by nearly a million times… no apparent reason.
          —Sky & Telescope, October 24, 2007

A lamp above the bar shone in my glass of beer,
its light jiggled as if a sink hole on some comet
had just collapsed. Its fresh face of ice, sun-blasted,
sent streams of cosmic bubbles frothing the dark
amber depths.

I swirled the liquid, watched its waves catch glints
from some imagined cataclysm merge with flashes
from buzzing neon lights, a constellation humming
warning. This liquid-borne comet aimed its coma
at me. I remember

Shoemaker-Levy 9, when that whip-lashed comet
strung its pearly pieces effervescing space—
twenty-one miniature comets hurtling into Jupiter’s
thick atmosphere. Shattered fragments left craters
the size of worlds.

I pondered the comet in my universe of beer—
the glass, my telescope peering deep to a time
before comets, before solar systems birthing them,
when violence spumed from early suns—
exploding gas
                     and stardust, with its gold,
that someday would be me.