How many planets to make a universe?
How many suns to light them?
How much energy to keep them alive?
Who knows and who cares?

WE are the stuff of stars and planets,
atom and molecule, for one shining moment
in all the pilgrimage of time fused into
what we are, what we have become,
and sharing our bodies and souls
in the pulse that governs all things.

It is magic, it is wonder, it is real,
and nothing in the panorama of space,
which stretches far beyond the glass
eyes we have ground to study it,
nothing in all that cold and dark,
with scattered balls of flaming gas
and smouldering ruins of stars,
black and gray and green planets—
none of it matters so much
as the depths of your eyes,
the touch of your skin,
the sound of your voice,
the warm liquid joy of you.


Paul Ruffin is Distinguished Professor of English at Sam Houston State University, where he edits the Texas Review and directs Texas Review Press. He is also a prolific author of fiction and nonfiction.