I could find the Big Dipper. The Little Dipper, after some struggle, was barely identifiable. As for bears, major or minor? Horns of a bull? A horse’s head? Surely, you jest. As a kid, I only barely scraped through getting my star badge. I have only ever found Orion’s belt – the man himself – god? – had apparently dropped his accessories and gone.

Stars are the pins which outline the shapes of beings larger-than-life, those gods and warriors who shine through the universe. Madea was such a woman, she lit up the small skies of a tiny Louisiana town, larger than life. And every child of hers who falls blurs the outline of her shape, and someday, her constellation may only be a memory. Strange, how losing Uncle Sly makes me think of my grandmother, and doubles the loss. For my grandmother, the DNR on her chart meant a quiet passage, but today, my mother’s arms ache from CPR, tried for long, long, long minutes, fruitlessly.

Cancer is an unworthy, unrighteous, rapacious, voracious, cunning, vicious, bastard. If only we could halt its pernicious poison which seeps into bones and breath, perhaps we could then cease to rage against the dying of the light, and let the stars fall softly.