New Zealand

It was evening, the sky a deepening blue,
and we had settled in at a harborside table
which a waiter often visited with a tray of drinks.
The last thing on my mind was astronomy,
but at one point I tilted back my head
and beheld scattered above me the early stars
of a new hemisphere and, directly overhead,
the twinkling points of the Southern Cross.
What a relief after a lifetime of the Big Dipper
with its odd angles, its bent ladle—
more like a rhomboid on a coat hanger to my eye.
But there is no mistaking the four points of a cross.