The Retrograde of Mercury

Betty Doyle

The search for a soul;
A meaning, something to hold is lonely,
Lost in the kaleidoscope night –
Deep green over crimson pink, flickering auroras
Like the shifting colours and calm light
Of an aquarium tunnel,
Face-to-face with your own reflection.

Jupiter is clear:
It blinks like it knows; it glitters in its own blue shift,
In its own tropical year.

August dawn, and Orion shivers.
Sometimes the moon looks so low, I’m scared
It will fall.
Then those lovers can catch it,
And their love won’t mean much at all.

I saw Venus once, with my own glossy eye;
Sitting dumb in a blood-orange gas sky,
With the smoke stacks and signs far off,
Brighter now, than any wandering star.
It sizzled behind the acid and heat, like a mirage,
Like melting tarmac.
It gazed back at me; unfeeling, and tired

Of burning white.
I feel smaller at night –
When a clock ticks away in a final heartbeat,
Pounding out an iambic pentameter
In my hot ear;
When the weight of these nineteen years flares like nickel alloy
Inside the crater of my chest,
And the colossal weight of Umbriel clatters in my head;
And when I am unspun, like Saturn’s rings,
I notice,
My universe is made up of useless things.

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