Star Gazer

The first telescope the family had made was for a man named Galileo. He would go down in history as an ungrateful bastard, taking all the credit for the rickety set of lenses cast in aluminum which my ancestor tailored to his madness. Anyone who had the slightest inkling about the Star Gazers recognized Galileo’s toy as one of our classic models- a playful prototype. People gossiped just as much back then. Some said we came from Babylon. Others traced us back to a small Tibetan tribe. A few were convinced we were Armenian scam artists. They addressed us as Guarda Stelle, Olhe Estrelas and Sterndeuter. We answered to all those names, but very much preferred the English variation: Star Gazer.


The ice became indigo as I danced.
I still think of it sometimes
When I’m in class and I close my eyes
When I’m on the bus listening to stories that aren’t about me
When I meet people and their names remind me
Of the sound your feet made
When touching the salted ground


Before 2016, I’d never been on a flight, lived outside of Italy or even outside of my family home. The prospect of going someplace else by myself didn’t seem appealing and all I knew of other cultures came from books and the few foreigners I’d come across in my country, whom I didn’t understand that well because of my poor language skills. I had no idea what it meant to live and grow in a culture that was different from my own.

I thought it was about time all that should change.