Stella(r) by Sheree Shatsky

I wake to a star bouncing on the bed.

The alarm on my phone sounds, the car horn alert. The star startles to the ceiling, its four points bursting into five.  I silence the ooga ooga and the star descends and sways, a hypnotic astral pendulum.  It darts off one revolution and hovers above the photograph of my dead wife Stella, searching out stars in the Goblin Valley night sky spoiled by a harvest moon.

The star pirouettes a rapid whirl. The center is dazzling, yet soothing, not piercing like a direct look into the sun.  When I close my eyes, I don’t see blue black purple spots, I see her, I see Stella, melted in the hammock of her last summer, book draped over her face, lulled into a sleep so delicious, she later would recall cotton falling from the sky for angels to retrieve and fly back to the clouds to fall again.

The star rises and lights on the cedar chest, the keepsake contents carefully organized and labeled to sort through when the time came. Baby clothes, baby shoes, plaster hand casts painted with tempera paint.  A photo pinned to a red sweatshirt, Stella age three, the hood pulled up over her head, her hands tucked inside the kangaroo pocket.  Tiny hands, tiny girl, her Indiana collie at her side. A seventy-year-old sweatshirt for a grandchild who will know Stella only as the color red.

The star winks short, pauses long. Minuscule jolts, snaps and sparks. Bursts and slides in configuration. Dits and dahs, dots and dashes.

Morse code.

It swirls my being, this stellar scintillation and rests against my beaten heart.

.– .. – …. -.– — ..- .- .-.. .– .- -.– … .-.-.-


Sheree Shatsky writes wild words. Her short fiction has appeared in a variety of journals, most recently BLACKCACKLE at Entropy, Tiny Molecules and The Wild Hunt. She is twice-nominated for Best Microfiction 2020.  Read more of her work at Find her on Twitter @talktomememe.