Am I a star?
My whole life I've thought I was, because . . .
I was told I was.
Now I am not so sure.
When I study the sky around me, I see stars;
These stars are quite sure of what they are.
They wear their shining robes and march grandly across the sky.
The sight of them hurts my eyes.
I look at myself and see none of that heavenly glitz and glamour . . .
And I would not want it.
I am gray but I am beautiful.
I watch the suns frolic in the sky.
They are surrounded by planets.
The many worlds pay their homage to the stars in orbit.
Some stars can only collect very small, misshapen planets.
They gaze upon their lovers' faces in admiration,
And the suns draw them close, but never allow them to flourish.
Some stars collect many of these as well as more beautiful worlds.
Misty, light planets woo the grand stars.
They are sometimes bedecked with rings to show their wealth
Or they are shrouded in atmosphere
Playing hard-to-get inside all that covering.
The heavenly bodies play their games, and I sit and watch.
I must not be a star, yet I attract worlds as well.
I have never burned.
I have never been a beacon to planets for orbit purposes,
Yet they come to orbit me anyway . . .
I suppose they think I am a star, even though I do not shine.
The planets come, expecting my warmth to flow.
It does not come.
The planets become perplexed, because what else can stars do . . .
But shower planets with light and warmth?
They see that no warmth comes from me . . .
That I am not, in fact, on fire.
They look at the other suns, watching . . .
And I explain to them that their fire consumes them.
And I say that those planets which become too close in their orbit
End up being sucked into the fire
And burned alive.
The planets protest that there is no other way to live.
"We need heat and light, or we become dead planets," they cry.
Quietly, I point at their surfaces.
I tell them to look inside themselves.
There, life is flourishing, and they weren't even aware of it.
They were so sure that every planet needed a star
Before life occurred
That they didn't even think to check until they got there.
The planets are very stubborn.
They insist that it is not "real" life on their surfaces;
That for their developing life forms to go on,
They need a star's love.
"But I'm not a star at all," I remind them.
They look and see it is true. I have no robes. I do not shine.
"I saw your beacon," they say, resisting truth.
"I think I must glow another way," I say, innocently.
The planets, unable to get what they think they need from me,
Retreat into space, leaving room for more planets to gravitate.
The question of what I am rattles in my mind.
I am not a star, but maybe sometimes I put out light.
I am not a planet, or I would be roaming, trying to find a star mate.
Sometimes the planets are very wise.
They seek to answer my questions.
Often it is to prove their hypothesis about planets needing stars.
I notice that many of the planets honestly don't have any life on them.
I wonder about these ones.
They say all they need is a star.
I study them closely and find the reason.
These barren planets are determined to cancel out life
Before it can begin.
They see life budding in a valley . . .
And then acid rain from their atmosphere
Drenches the life and extinguishes it.
Others abort their children with volcanoes
Or floods, or fire.
Some say they can't help it;
That only a sun can burn off their haze
Or melt their ice to quench the fires within them.
Others try to see it my way
But none have ever looked at me and said,
"I understand, and I agree."
They retreat into the blackness, confused,
Or they hang around, hoping one day I will ignite.
The wise planets who ask me questions
Sometimes ask if I ever glowed with fire.
I cannot remember doing so,
But some assert that I must be a white dwarf,
A remnant of a supernova
Whose extreme heat literally destroyed me
And made me a shell.
I search for this event in my memory, but nothing comes.
I could never have dressed in those robes
Or been a star-queen red giant.
My body is also unharmed:
Smooth and cool, with no blemish that would have been left
By a passionate explosion.
The planets sometimes choose to believe
That I don't remember my red giant days.
Others assert that I am a proto-star.
That I simply have yet to get hot enough to burst into flames.
I cannot see any way this could happen;
I'm simply not made of the right stuff.
However, I have to accept that this might be the case.
Despite this being a possibility,
I explore other options.
What else could I be?
I am without a sun of my own,
Yet like a planet I support life.
I have a secret civilization hidden inside me.
Is this unheard of in heavenly bodies?
It if is, it doesn't stop this from being true.
I become disoriented when I see
That I am unlike anything in the known universe,
But I feel it is the best thing to be.
If I were to burn like a sun, wouldn't I destroy my people?
If I were to search for a sun,
Wouldn't my people's way of life be slowed down or halted
By the change in environment?
I would never want to hurt them.
Yet those planets keep tugging at me
And the stars keep encouraging me.
How can I glow if I do not have a light source?
It perplexes me, yet I accept it as truth
Rather than believe my senses are liars.
What is there to do?
Perhaps I will continue to give my speeches to the planets,
Giving them light but not warmth,
And continue, above all, cultivating my civilization like a garden.
One day, they may grow advanced enough to go out from me
And colonize those barren worlds.
Then everyone will know what I am.
And, seeing the good I do,
They will say, "I understand. And I agree."