455: Mercury in Retrograde

455: Mercury in Retrograde

455: Mercury in Retrograde

This week, we're featuring poems related to outer space. Stars. Planets. Even aliens. What can we discover about ourselves, when we consider the cosmos?


Mercury in Retrograde
by Sheryl Luna

The day ended badly with a broken ankle,
a jinxed printer, and a dead car. The dry yellow grass
against the sunset saved me. Roosters
 
pranced across a lawn of shit, proudly plumed
in black feathers, bobbing before the gray goats.
It was the first day I saw god in the quiet,
 
and found a mustard seed was very small.
There I had been for years cursing “why?”
and all the gold in the sun fell upon me.
 
There was a white mare in the midst
of brown smog, majestic in the refinery
clouds. Even the radio wouldn’t work!
 
My mother limps and her hair falls out.
The faithful drive white Chevy trucks
or yellow Camrys, and I’m here golden
 
on the smoking shock-less bus.
I lost language in this want, each poem
dust, Spanish fluttered
 
as music across the desert, even weeds
tumbled unloved. The police sirens seared
the coming night, dogs howled helplessly
sad.
 
Lo I walk the valley of death, love
lingers in my hard eyes. Mañana never
comes just right. I mend myself in the folds
 
of paper songs, ring my paper bells
for empty success. Quiero Nada,
if I sing long enough, I’ll grow dreamlike
and find a flock of pigeons, white under
wings lifting awkward bodies like doves
across the silky blue-white sky.

"Mercury in Retrograde," by Sheryl Luna, from PITY THE DROWNED HORSES by Sheryl Luna, copyright © 2005 Sheryl Luna. Used by permission of University of Notre Dame Press.