Henry Crawford

At the Birth of the James Webb Telescope, Dead Cat Dream: Henry Crawford

At the Birth of the James Webb Telescope

[caught] in the [thumb and forefinger]
of [Earth] and [Sun] I’ve come to hold
you [spin with you] look back [with you]
into the [oldest] unseen light [unfurl]
with you] your many mirrored eyes
[watch with you] your [boom arms]
unfolding in the milky wash of stars
[observe] your tiny [membrane shields]
protecting you from an overabundant
sun [I’ve come] to see you learn
the alphabet of storied constellations
[I’ve come] to make for you a space
among my earthbound [thoughts]
you are the godchild of all that has
exploded before you [a witness] now
to the way things came to be
[a happy baby] rollicking in space
[learning the language] of starlight laughing
[waiting to tell us] everything you see

Dead Cat Dream

he slinked over to me
except now he could talk
but not in a way
that requires a tongue
and I told him I was happy
to see him come back
and it’s the same way my mother will appear
sometimes as she was and sometimes
as a strange unfathomable shape
and at other times
only her full screen face
immutably alive
as my white whiskered cat
in the dream I had
nodding off for a second
while holding you to my breast
and watching you work the nipple
while falling in and out
of your own infant sleep
with dreams too formless
for characters
just royal shades of color
breathing light
in time
we’ll learn to dream each other
and you might come to me
and I to you
the way my grandfather
will sometimes come to visit
or the way you will appear
in the dreams of other people
and in all these times
we will enjoy each other
until one of us wakes up


Henry Crawford is the author of two poetry collections, American Software (CW Books 2017) and The Binary Planet (The Word Works 2020. His poems have appeared in several journals and online publications. His poem The Fruits of Famine, won first prize in the 2019 World Food Poetry Competition. His poem Blackout was selected by the Southern Humanities Review as a finalist in the 2018 Jake Adam York Witness Poetry Contest. His poem Making an Auto Insurance Claim was selected as an honorable mention in Winning Writer’s 2019 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. His multi-media work, Gettysburg Auto Tour, was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Deanna Tulley Multimedia Prize. He has produced numerous online poetry events and is currently the host of the online poetry series, Poets vs The Pandemic.