When I was a kid, one winter’s night
My Uncle Mike drew me out to the lawn
And pointed at the sky. “That’s Officer
O’Ryan up there. See his nightstick
Held high and his belt with pistol?”

When Sister Margaret, the astronomer,
Lover of the night sky, pointed at her
Celestial chart and asked us to identify
That same cluster of stars, “a con-stel-
lation, a gathering of stars,” she said,

My hand shot up and, called upon,
I said, “That’s Officer O’Ryan, patrolling
the night skies,” and Stella O’Reilly,
my great crush, tittered while Sister
Margaret rolled her eyes, then gladly

Began to tell us the stellar history
Of Orion the Hunter, identified so by
The Greeks, envisioned as holding
A club, not a nightstick, and wearing
A sword, not a gun, in his belt,

And pointed to its two great stars,
Betelgeuse and Rigel, seventh brightest
In our universe and “luminous
As the Sun,” I held back tears
Until I saw the humor in it —

Uncle Mike pulling my leg, my desire
To shine like the Sun for Sister Margaret
And Stella O’Reilly, only to be eclipsed
By my eager false answer, and the giant
Constellation, since known as O’Rion.