The Byronic Woman

(first published in The Philippines Free Press, November 2009)

For Mia

As curvaceous as the space
around dead stars, a Demiurge
of a high albedo strain,
I am lounging with the languor
of iguanas. I am squamous
in my crystalline domain.

For light-years I have wandered
here, in the dark, pariah
for the violence of my Will,
conjecturing stochastic, strange
encounters, and longing for
another chance to kill.

Some scales have broken loose
and drift around me, a torus
of detritus – a tiara
bejeweled like the diadems
of yore. In time invaders come
to mine my surface, to pry
encrusted prisms from within –
a race of vicious hoplites,
avaricious, enamored
of this lapidary skin.

By slow degrees I shed
my wonted torpor. The interlopers
wither in my gaze – a gaze
like that of some affronted Gorgon,
a relict of the vaunted glory days.

The hoplites cease their hopping,
stand there petrified
in postures strangely comic
or obscene, like pieces in a drunken
chess game, a game whose only
winner is the Queen.


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