Samuel and the Stars

                         for Mark Twain

You swallowed a comet
the night you were born

and it gave you a fire
of burning words
Americans needed to understand.

The truth

that freedom is for everyone,
that old spirituals should be heard,
that friendships are woven out of opposites
but all lining is the same.

Your map of stars will guide me
as I embroider on my children’s lives
trips down the Mississippi
and walks on Lake Superior’s shoreline.



* * * * *

Heather Ann Schmidt teaches writing at Mott Community College, ITT Technical Institute in Michigan and Southern New Hampshire University’s online program. Her most recent collection of poems, On Recalling Life Through the Eye of the Needle, was released in January by Village Green Press. Forthcoming collections include Transient Angels and Red Hibiscus from Crisis Chronicles Press.  Find her at