photo of deep sky object

I open as a blazing star
Tiptoed yet sturdy
My arms, waxed, electrified
Sending up spires of purple
With orbits of ghostly glints
Black veined, silk threaded.

Dark green lances burst forth
From within my hips and wrists
My knees descend into a plié
Healing, lavender hued
Falling away
From a coppery, spiky core.

My torso lifts, teeth tapered
The roots of my hair deep red
Fading outward into yellow
A wheel on fire that once caught
The blood of the Aztecs
Pirouetting across the meadow.

Beads of nectar in my mouth
The whorls of my crown
Scarlet, dark-eyed, delicate
Thick with feathery yellow
I pose wildly, flax bodied
Until the curtain drops.

Poem by Mirja Lobnik

Mirja Lobnik teaches in the Department of English at Agnes Scott College and specializes in indigenous and postcolonial literatures, sensory studies, and the environmental humanities. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Modern Fiction StudiesSouth Atlantic Review, the collection The Neglected West: Contemporary Approaches to Western American Literature, and the collection Literature and the Senses: Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature.