Matriarchal

We wake again pleading for the last time,
a forked tongue once lost between planetary

failures. Their rotation had become dangerous
like birthing hips on the move, either circled

in naked light, or coiling an orbit around
the throat of some dark diviner’s rabbit.

Anti-gravity had taken its unsteered toll,
the air having long been pressed out under

mean flesh, gaze wild and glassy. Gasping
a final incantation at the closing of eyes,

she prepares herself for the difficult
reentry, asks me to please cover up

her body with the stained-blue skin
of a warrior, or perhaps the fine cloth

of an ancient priestess, smiling the creased sorrows
of our plastic spacesuits back to me. She understands

that we will not come this time with grappling
hooks, pressure gauges, flood lights, steel cages,

tightly bound pages, ticking timers, and tested rules, all
these dusty instruments for making wasted spaces

between a concentric star
and a ghost that cannot answer.

I will lay in its powdery surface
and feel the rock beneath me.

Jennifer Seaman CookJennifer’s academic scholarship in the arts, media, technology, and visual and public cultures is augmented by her intermedial practices in poetry, creative non-fiction essay, and documentary. Her most recent essays can be found in Salon, PopMatters, and Heide Hatry’s photography book Not a Rose. Jennifer’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Cedilla Literary Journal (archived at University of Montana), Avatar Review, After the Pause, and more. Jennifer teaches regularly in American Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo.