Rondalyn Whitney

Astronomy is About Substance

Around the middle star of Orion’s sword
A streak of naked-eye stars hinge
The entryway to Heaven, a luminous hole
Through which human souls depart.
Pale gray oxygen lifts ascending dead
Pulling each one, finger first, toward milky ways
Angels scrunch their wings to fit through this gulf
Butterflies emerging from earth, this blackened chrysalis
Fluorescent silver drifts into once rural darkness. The Yogis say
You can stare into the corner of a room and with practiced intention
Your consciousness will be sucked far enough into the abutted planes of
You will be sucked right up into the hot blue stars. They do not
Say if this is a one way journey.
Orion’s sword hangs fixed
Pierces infinity of the southern sky, ultra-violent against
intruders and angels falling, accidental tourists and those seeking
against the back-lit night.

Healing Time

            six weeks to heal from an open wound
first, clean the wound,
next apply antibiotic ointment to prevent festering.
then with great tenderness and care
close the wound by bringing the raw flesh together again
help the tears touch
apply a soft dressing
keep the couplet dry.
a scar will come to remind that once, here, was a brief separation.

            six weeks after open heart surgery
the soreness from your cracked sternum begins to ease
in half a year’s time, two full seasons of waxing and waning moons
the full benefits of the trauma to your heart, your chest, your body
heals across the crack where the light once got in
light doesn’t get in, there, for most people.
the scar is yours to keep, a souvenir.

            no one knows how long it takes to heal
after you lose your lover of 33 years
after a speeding White Prius hits his Silver Corolla at full force
after a traumatic impact shatters both the legs,
legs that hours before tossed frisbees into wire nets
on the hilly course of Dorsey’s Knob
legs that wrapped around you, loved you
in the light of that final crisp autumn morning
after his heart
with more than it was ever meant to hold.
there was no scarring on his body, even after that body donated
amber eyes, smooth flesh, strong bone.
Scars only form from living.

Rondalyn Whitney (@DrRDub_writes) is a poet, writer, occupational therapist, and researcher. Her writing narrates the lived experience of defiant healing. She writes across a broad range of genres from scholarly journals, professional texts and creative works. Her work appears in The Healer’s Burden, Intima, and The Examined Life Journal. She holds an advanced certificate in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University and is the Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. Learn more at