HOME
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
STAFF BIOS
BLOG
LINKS
Summer 2010
POETRY
FICTION
COLUMNS
NON-FICTION
CONTRIBUTORS
EDITORIAL
ARCHIVES
CONTACT US
Poetry

Life Cycle of a Star

LaToya Jordan

Life Cycle of a Star
  
There are 60 million child brides worldwide. Over the next decade, this number is expected to rise to 100 million.
—International Center for Research on Women

Nebula

One matchstick touched
to the hem of her wedding dress,
how bright she could burn.

Main Sequence

She swallows a lit match,
a prayer to staunch the madness
poisoning her gut.

The aroma of well done
flesh seduces her husband.
He is unable to keep
the promise to her parents,
I will wait for the first spark of fertility.
His words thin like the barrier
he breaks to taste.

Her bloodstains
create an image of a girl
on the bed sheet.
She calls it Doll,
whispers secrets in its ear
of how she conjures blindness
when the husband is on top of her.
How she travels back home in her head
to mornings with her family
when she would clean
the large silver pot for her mother
to cook breakfast in.
How the sunlight would
illuminate every tiny scratch
in the old pot.
How she uses the sunlight
reflected in the metal
to eclipse the husband’s face.
  
At the first spark
of fertile blood,
she believes her prayers
to keep the husband away
have been answered,
but her wine only
intoxicates him.
In bed he whispers,
I will give you a real doll to play with. 

Red Giant

The doll is a ball of orange
light that grows in her belly
until it is a full-sized sun
bursting for daybreak.
Its rays remain trapped
inside the small fist of space
formed by her hips.

She conjures sunlight again
to dull the pain,
tells Doll one last secret,
the unfulfilled wish
from her wedding day.
Together they find a match
hidden in a box beneath the mattress
and touch flame to sheets.

How bright
her child, her blood,
she burns.
With luminous skin
she swallows everyone
and everything in her path,
the husband, his family,
her family, neighbors,
cows and dogs in the fields,
all the houses on the hill,
the entire village.

In the sky
they burn so bright
people from neighboring villages
feel the heat of shame.
Hands held in front of their eyes,
they cannot look directly
into the light.

RETURN TO POETRY INDEX >