best question yet

While guiding a tour group

from a Nogales’ high school science class

to the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope,

at first all of the teens acted shy,

silently listening to my rap about the Sun:

how it’s our nearest star and must be monitored,

especially if we hope to set up colonies

 beyond Earth’s natural magnetic shield

 protecting our technology from

hazardous solar storms.


It wasn’t until I said how much

scientists don’t know

that kids began waving hands

and blurting out question after question,

most for homework and predictable,

until one girl’s hit like a stun gun.


 “Do other stars have the same purpose

 as the Sun?” she asked, iPad open,

ready to input my response.


I flashed on Albert Einstein

 wondering at age sixteen,

“What’s it like to ride a light beam?”

From his simple query came a new reality.


 “I may know more astronomy

than you,” I replied with a grin,

“but your guess is as good as mine.

 Neither of us can be sure what stars

are for; maybe to evolve life on planets,

maybe for some task humans can’t yet grasp,

but what a thought-provoking question to ask!” 


We shared a smile, two sisters at heart,

each one playing her special part—

a girl whose queries greatly matter,

a guide attuned to cosmic chatter.



The messenger & the skeptic

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