Distant Stars
by Pam McNew


 

I.

 

I am a swan, she said,

and you are a frog.

 

I look down and I'm blue-green and squat,

sleek and wet.

 

I look at her and she is preening,

sharp orange bill caressing breast feathers.

She pauses to look at me.

 

I don't like the look in her eyes.

 

II.

 

We shall descend, she said,

fall the depths of despair and loss;

we shall dwell in the halls of the dead

and drink the wine of the misunderstood.

We shall paint our eyelids black

and paint our lips black

and when we kiss, our souls

will crinkle and burn

leaving ashes in our wake.

 

I stare heavenward,

if I am a phoenix,

if I fall, if I burn,

I shall rise again.

 

III.

 

I am a poem, she said,

and you are a political essay.

I wear ball gowns of satin and mesh

and you wear blue jeans, black t-shirts

and a baseball hat with the bill

turned backward.

 

I have more authority, I reply.

 

No, she says, and she smiles at the saying, I do.

 

I make all my PowerPoint arguments;

she smiles sympathetically,

then leaves me with a sonnet,

a farewell in iambic pentameter.

 

IV.

 

We're not in love, she said,

we're as cool, as cold, as frigid

as we can be, she said.

 

I nod although

I know it to be a lie.

Mine, hers, ours.

 

There is no love between

decaying stars,

depleting atmospheres,

crumbling planets, she says.

 

Only survival, I say.

 

We'll leave this behind,

when we depart for the heavens,

she says.

 

There, between distant stars,

there will be love, I add,

but I don't say it aloud.

 

 

About the Author:

Pam McNew  has had fiction and poetry published in Strange Horizons, The Fortean Bureau, Chiaroscuro, Say..., and Lone Star Stories. 

 


Poem 2006 Pam McNew.