NOTES FROM COPERNICUS’S ON THE REVOLUTION OF THE HEAVENLY SPHERES
The star in the first curve of the neck.
The star in the tongue.
Within the open mouth.
In the cheek. At the extremity.
The star in between.
On the right shoulder.
On the left shoulder,
the brilliant star on the shoulder blades.
The nebulous star in the breast.
A little to the west of the star at the heart.
The more western of the three on the belly.
At the navel.
The reddish star in the middle.
The first star in the fall of water from the hand.
At the first vertebra.
At the second vertebra.
At the seventh, and next to the sting.
The unconstellated star between the thighs.
The more northern of the two on the rump.
The star in the coil of the tail.
The star to the east, in the shape of an ivy leaf.
The star in the tail, which touches the milky circle.
At the vertex of the triangle. The bright star
at the junction of the human body.
THE SHAPE OF THE WORLD
Here we go again, here we go: it’s Square
One, back to the first marble slab from the quarry.
Here we go: it’s the re-conversion of the choir.
Genesis arrives again with its long list of chores,
and change keeps occurring like an undeclared war.
Now come the merchants, peddling their wares.
We buy a little house, we decorate the walls,
but we can’t get comfortable, not with the wail
of the moon up there, miserable waxer and waner.
After all is said and done and the wind-up toys all wind
down, there is still a history we can’t rescind:
somehow it just keeps spinning round and round.
Still, isn’t the round world fresher after a good rain?
Problem is, Noah’s dogs will soon get muddy, they’ll run
their races in dirty little silks, and the cats will be ruined.
What’s said, by the nonbelievers, of the animal wounds
beneath our skin, or of these hearts that pound
outside our bodies, or of a storm that pins
each of us to the rest of us? Your fins
to my feathers, my flesh to your fur, isn’t it just a fine
state of affairs, this, and are we having fun
yet? One day it’s creation, it’s home, it’s in like Flynn
and the next day it’s all flood and flimflam,
the sculptor and the preacher go down in flames,
and the beer is days old, which, damn it, means it’s flat.
WHAT WE MEANT
We never meant to block out the sun,
though we’ve been known to do worse things.
At times, we’ve been almost choral, a dense ring
from Wagner, an ode to joy belted out by Beethoven.
I’m sure we meant both hearts to beat, or so we said
wholeheartedly, though we might have known the light
just wouldn’t last, knowing that the dark was right
before our eyes. When you told me lead
never turned into gold, I replied that older
never came from dead, either. And maybe we meant
to be linear after that, less confusingly curved or bent
beyond comprehension, though never hotter, never colder.
Or maybe we only meant to be transparent
as rippled glass and just as clever with sunlight, so
never quite clear, never distortion-free, not totally, no.
But to cast an odd shadow—yes, that we meant.
Julie Larios has had work appear in The Atlantic Monthly,
McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, Margie, Octopus, The Georgia Review, Field, and other publications, including Swink’s online theme issue, What We Want. In 2006 she was awarded a Pushcart Prize for Poetry. For five years, she was poetry editor for The Cortland Review and now teaches in the MFA-WC program at Vermont College.