Conjunction: 1997 – by Bonnie Wehle

Day after day, we sorted,
we wrapped, we packed
the accumulation of our mother’s life.

Each night I floated alone in her pool.
It was the year the comet Hale-Bopp
appeared in the heavens
brighter than the stars,
and the year our mother, who shone
with her own light, disappeared
from earth

The comet was visible
with the naked eye, but
I confronted
the darkness through binoculars
discovered in a desk drawer.
My sister and I had flown,
in turns, from our distant homes,
to carry out the arduous work of

Night after night,
I watched, exhausted, enthralled,
as the comet shedding
its enormous trail of dust and debris
through the cosmos,
made its slow voyage forward
with the same heft
and singleness of purpose
demanded of me
as I journeyed through
my firmament
of loss.


Bonnie Wehle serves as a docent at the University of Arizona Poetry Center and facilitates a monthly poetry circle with the county library. Her work has been published in Coal Hill Review, River Heron Review, Sky Islands Journal, Heron Tree Literary Journal, Red Rock Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, A Certain Ache: Poems in Women’s Voices, was released in July 2022 by Finishing Line Press. Bonnie lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her dog, Tillie.