Poetry: Orrery (Suffice It To Say)

I. Uranus
A message erased
before you had a chance to read it,
but it read like a harness, like strong arms,
like charcoal and red clay, and who am I to talk?
Murmurs in the dark (the sweeping dark of starlings)
and what washes in on the high tide
are a message erased before I had a chance to read it.

II. Neptune
When like Lot and his family we fled that darkness
empty as a moon and naked of atmosphere:
suffice it to say I never looked behind me.

III. Saturn
A solemn morning, damp with the dew on the cedars,
and my hand is in yours. Consider this a diagram,
mechanical and systematic, of the solar flares, the
cold dark lunar night, of the calendar year
with the pride of empires
and the wild, fair roots of a laurel tree.

IV. Jupiter
If nothing else,
we have the intricacy of our moving parts,
the cogs and gears of your late nights,
Angostura bitters, steady patience
like a vein of amber fed intravenously
into my wrist. The magic tricks, ink or
engine grease on our knuckles, white teeth
nipping the flesh of a lychee or perhaps your neck,
a Galilean moon in either hand and
one in my pocket for good measure.
No, I can hang on; I can wait.

V. Mars
What doesn’t kill us makes us
furiously in love.

VI. Earth
Some thorny problem or another,
I suppose: desert cacti, garden roses,
mountain pines, field thistles,
it’s all one. If you listen very close,
you can hear the hum of the
very core of the planet.

VII. Venus
Here it is, laid out to the best of my honesty,
sweet, and spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon,
and stubborn as anything.

VIII. Mercury
Blue-black ether for miles between us,
and all I can think of is the minutest things:
the rim of your skin eclipsed in sunlight,
an eyelash on your cheek for luck;
suffice it to say almost any word
will suffice.

IX. Solas
Consider this a chart of the stars by which,
God helping us, we can painstakingly calculate
the way to land. (And ah, my darling! There is
milk and honey there.)

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