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What We Call Stars. - Kalie Johnson

Scattered crinkle-cut nighttime pastries kiss the canvased sky, dipping into the dreams of kitten-faced children like a soup ladle full of ABC’s and snowflakes. Children wake to the slow slip of time and the zombie movements of the arrogant sun as their soup-ladle dreams dwindle into early morning yawns and Cinderella shower tunes, shrouded in the tangible zest of the sun. Kids run off to school, where they will learn how to tie their shoes and contribute to a society that does not appreciate the glow-in-the-dark sky pinpricks.

But before the dwindling of these pagan fireflies, comes the vivacious burn in the deep expanse of sky, a burn deeper than the human desire to live. This burn slips sleeplessly across the ripple-entranced waters of Montana lakes to hide beneath trees that sing to unaware birds, birds who drink the night sky’s essence just to survive. That’s how Blue Jays became so blue.

Humans are not blue birds. At least, not all of them are. Humans, those not preoccupied by their own self-destruction, stare in absolute awe at the capricious freckles aglow in the night fabric. These humans create what no others can in an attempt to replicate what they see. Art, full of twists and swirls and colors eerily replicate the fairy dust sprinklings, but can never quite evoke the same emotion of lonely union with the world. Jazz songs encapsulate a piece of majestic asterisks, but create only a twinkling of tangibility. Dancers step over time in an attempt to mirror the sky’s map, but majesty can not be captured.

Schools teach the schematics, but forget the inexplicableness of silent, still airplanes and the magic begins to dwindle into the sleeping school desks, where students scratch middle-school crushes into the grain of a wood that’s seen dreams dazzled in the night, each pinprick a wish for love. The beauty of gleaming paint drops becomes forgotten as frazzled scientists determine and document progress and death while flowered hippies scream about alignment and horoscopes. Balance does not exist.

Next, are the city peasants, who fall into heavy exhaustion, never knowing the true power of a myriad of Hershey kisses, only seeing somber airplanes and an occasional peppering of dull dots. The city ferments the nighttime sky, collecting the salt for special days that never pass, days that only lie on forgotten back shelves. Every now and then, these beings discover another time, another place, where shimmery blood pours out of the night’s open gashes, droplets smearing together into swirls and lashes that can only be comprehended supine. Even then, these city-dwellers can not grasp the greatness of the illuminated murder of crows, flying unreachably high, so they jump up and reach towards the hazy, drug-like clouds, eager to touch something for all they know is reality. They can never touch the shrill lights; they return to the city, driving on stifled suburban screams and national anthems. City-dwellers were never meant for this much blood.

For the children who dream of Van Gogh twists, they will need nothing else, but to feel like a blue jay, to eternally feel the ineffable greatness of midnight pearls that kiss them with more love than their parents will ever give them. The ABC’s trickle into children’s mind each night, but only permeate in a few’s fragile heads. Consumed by this sea, wide-eyed and daring, these children will become lonesome, enamored adults, who teach their kids to fall in love with the night. The cycle will continue until every lighter sputters and sparks out. Every great artist holds onto these night-dwellers to continue their infatuation with tinfoil snowflakes.


Kalie Johnson is a 25 year-old living near Cleveland, Ohio. She's published in BW's "The Mill," California State's "Watershed Review," “Fatal Flaws Literary Magazine,” "The Bookends Review," "Coffin Bell Journal," "The Quillkeeper's Press," "Thirteen Bridges Review." and "Jet Fuel Review." When she’s not writing, she enjoys seeing the world, hiking, roller skating, and camping. She trusts that love is the meaning to life and uses that as a guiding principle wherever she goes. You can find her writing Instagram at @thingsfeelwrite.

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