Innovation of the Same Name

5…

 

When you feel a hand squeezing

ice into your fingertips, 

cold as those distant galaxies

you had always studied, 

as a new star was being born, 

what were you thinking? 

 

Of a new adventure to be had, 

a new toting carriage to behold

as she soars? 

 

“Phoebus.”

“Phee, for short.”

 

When you looked upon her

for the very first time, 

did she burn your eyes

with her potential? 

 

Did she wrap her celestial

finger around yours

and, 

 

just for a second, 

 

thaw the frigidness of the 

 

fear 

 

you held in your heart? 

 

Did she plump your sallow cheeks 

with her warmth?

 

And when her feet first

dug into the grass, 

when her fingers first graced the petals

of the bitter hyacinths, 

closed in the spring air, 

 

did she leave

blazes behind her? 

 

Could she share common

tongues

with the distant galaxies you had studied?

 

Or did you mute her 

with the ice in your soul

and extinguish her flame?

 

4… 

 

She would play in the garage, 

nuts and bolts and scrap metal 

in her hands-

 

nothing but a heap of nothing

to autumnal onlookers. 

 

But

her eyes shone with such a light, 

the freckles on the backs of her hands winking. 

 

One time, 

her fragile fingers found the fragments, 

not so fragmented in that certain light, 

and fixed a mouse. 

 

Its small nose nuzzled

her ankle

and 

the sole of your shoe

crushed the innovation. 

 

The garage doors were locked now. 

 

No metal should be left. 

 

Hers was a house of glass. 

 

Now she feared her walls breaking, 

 

a goldfish 

who had once jumped 

about in glee

now docile, 

paranoid of the slightest bump

of its cage. 

 

But she had something, 

something the goldfish

could never have-

 

no, not a name

for that was 

a prim ‘Alice’, now-

 

but a night sky. 

 

Her tongue stumbled

now and then, 

her stardust diction fallow. 

 

But, 

just but, 

her hands could still reach

for the galaxies

you had studied. 

 

3… 

 

In her sophomore year

of high school, 

her light was spent; 

 

her hands were bandaged 

from the burns she had

received from her

communication

with the impalpable things

in midnight velvet. 

 

But for you, 

oh for you, 

she would wear high heels,

scuffed at the toes, 

 

and went to prom

with a gaudy corsage

drowning her thin wrist

in its grandmotherly perfume.

 

And she went to coffee shop

slam poetry, 

spitting sarcastically saccharine

verses about the day- 

 

its encumbrances

turned to 

gifts wrapped 

in Arachne’s golden thread.

 

She would do this all for 

frozen 

you. 

 

But she met a boy. 

A boy named Apollo, 

who routinely pushed up

his midnight velvet glasses

on his freckled nose. 

 

and they talked

in the soft language of the stars

at three in the morning, 

 

until 

their under-eyes

appeared midnight velvet

as well. 

 

She met him 

and he showed her

his toolbox. 

 

The two of them

spent every other hour

with chalk streaked chins

and paper

the color of midnight velvet

sprawled 

vastly 

in front of them.

 

She met Apollo 

and he taught her to 

break beer bottles

on quiet side streets, 

 

giving her her first

set of stones to throw.

 

“Phoebus, 

put your arm into it.”, 

 

he would say while gripping

her thin shoulder roughly. 

 

He had taught her to harness

her anger

and her light.

 

“It’s Phee, 

to you.”

 

2… 

 

She met him

and just like that,

 

Apollo was gone. 

 

Like stars do- 

one midnight velvet time,

he was gone. 

 

Behind him, 

he had left a path

 

of machine grease

 

and chalk residue

 

and small pouches of stardust. 

 

He had

rolled her Chariot, 

 

as they called it, 

 

and placed it next 

to her toolbox. 

 

“No, don’t.”, 

she giggled, 

his ink-stained

fingertips

taking up a screw

with pure conviction. 

 

“But I must, 

M’lady.”

He scraped into 

the thin aluminum:

 

HY-PHEE.

 

That ear-splitting sound

had become

her only comfort,

 

in the dullness of day. 

 

His melted chocolate eyes

looked at her with fervor,

his pupils 

constricting

with intent. 

 

“Everything you need, 

my Sun, 

 

is here.

 

Let the stars 

guide the way

and let the sun 

 

not 

but 

rush you. 

 

This Chariot shall carry you

to a place

where

you may

 

sit on the sliver of the moon

 

and rest 

on the backs of 

Aquila’s court.”

 

Apollo was gone. 

 

1… 

 

Did you see her?

 

That flaming star

in the middle of 

the blinding day? 

 

Did you recognize

your Phoebus 

Under such heat?

 

Did you recognize her

beautiful artist’s hands 

as they shook

with the Sun’s

and night fell?

 

Did you feel 

your coldness slipping away

as if warm honey

had slid down your throat, 

sweet 

and 

reassuring?

 

Did you see her 

Chariot

as it soared across the sky? 

 

She had reached 

the galaxies

you had always studied,

 

sitting in the sliver

of the silver moon

 

as Lupus

taught her 

of the constellation

 

she had been destined for. 

 

She had touched the hyacinths. 

 

She had left her blazes, 

 

here on Earth. 

 

And now, 

 

leaving a cairn 

beside her shattered window

where the midnight velvet 

had always come in, 

 

she was gone. 

 

She had cast her stones

 

and left her fingerprints 

in her wake. 

 

Look at her now, 

 

smiling

a smile

that is no doubt

 

brighter than the sun. 

 

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