Sonya Taaffe




            From such heights, even angels fall

            with frostburned lips. An old tape

            plays against the wheel of the stars,

            suns’ cold coronae and the sky

            starved to black, drifting and icy,

            synth and whispers, like the turn

            of cards in this solitaire unplayed

            for an aeon of light, while I dreamed.

            Or I lie, like any gambler at home

            beneath the always-rising sun—

            sleep cold, dream less than a corpse

            still thawing awake into this stranger

            who dangles from my strings. No

            snow-skinned beauty with an apple

            in her throat, no encaustic-eyed

            portrait of sweet resin and scarabs:

            mechanic’s fingernails and ship-grey

            coveralls, the wires in my shoulder

            and my bleached-out braids grown

            black in sleep; years like lead shot

            lifted finally from my eyes. The tang

            of oil in every secondhand breath,

            the irradiating starlight, the static

            the universe speaks slowly to itself

            across constellations and dust.

            The silence coursing down my veins

            like the space between stars seeped in.

            Snap another tab inside my wrist,

            lay down royalty in hearts and spades

            and that black knave of burnings

            whose sleight of hand was dawn;

            he holds me out a lifeline, but all

            the ties I want are blazing around me,

            white and wolf-blue, red as dragons

            guarding the gardens of the west. Star

            of the morning, no sun will set on me.


About the Author:

Sonya Taaffe has a confirmed addiction to myth, folklore, and dead languages. Her poem “Matlacihuatl’s Gift” shared first place for the 2003 Rhysling Award, and poems and short stories of hers have been been nominated for the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, the Pushcart Prize, and the Locus Award, shortlisted for the SLF Fountain Award, and honorably mentioned in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. A respectable amount of her short fiction and poetry can be found in Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books). She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Classics at Yale University.


Poem © 2007 Sonya Taaffe.  Image courtesy of NASA.