Jan/Feb 2020 Poetry Special Feature

Celestial Bodies

by Patricia Haney

Borrowed image

Celestial Bodies

When I left home three years ago for school,
I did not know how submerged I would become.
It consumes my hours into its hungry belly,
and for some time, I do not think about you.
Like the divine whale engulfs Jonah to save him from drowning,
school is my god—
an easy exclamation for a girl from a godless home.
And if academia is my savior, that makes you my sea.
A gushing and pulsing saltiness, ebb and flow
controlled only by the moon,
a god herself.
I spent so long trying to become the moon
so that I could taste self-sovereignty even if just for one night.
Every man on earth, even you, must worship celestial bodies.

When I left home three years ago for school,
I did not know I would think of you so frequently.
These days, once a week, I sit in a tattered baroque chair
on the corner of Michigan and Washington
looking out of a West-facing window.
Every Monday at 3pm I go up nineteen floors
into another session and I recall our time together.
Remembering your words now sets a fire in my chest
and I know that even my therapist is affected by our history.
Sometimes, he involuntarily flinches
at certain points in the memories that I tell.
At 4pm, I step out onto the corner of Michigan and Washington
and lean onto a news stand as I tie my shoe.
It's January now and when I look up,
the moon is already peaking above the horizon.

I no longer envy her gravitational control over men and the tides,
I only sympathize with her solitude.


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