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Tonight, as I blew out the wick of a long day,

I saw images of myself as a young boy.

I saw myself closing a book, turning off the light, gazing up at the ceiling.

Counting glow in the dark stars—big one, little one, galaxy, moon.

I had put them up myself, stood on top of my bed with bent legs and sprung

up, pressing the star as hard as I could against the ceiling.

Sometimes, I would press too hard, and the opposing force would be too much

for my little legs.  I’d fall on the bed, get back up, star in my hand,

and do it all over again.  Pretty soon, I had that whole ceiling covered.

My own universe.  My own world.  Stars were there because I put them there.

Big one, little one, galaxy, moon.

They would shine the brightest right after I turned the lights off.

And I’d lay there in my bed, wide-eyed and proud of my universe.

No matter what happened in the scary loud day,

I could rest knowing that my universe was a light-switch away.

Tonight, twenty-years later,

I close a book, turn off the light, and gaze up at the ceiling.

There’s no glow in the dark universe.  Only a dim light shimmers from a smoke detector.

I smile in amazement at it all.  And I think,

I’m still that little kid.  Still blindly springing, legs bent,

slamming stars too hard into the ceiling.

Big one, little one, galaxy, moon.

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