“Saturn for the Worse” by Elizabeth Weibush

There’s an old man with a time-long beard
Whose feet are planted in the shadow of the hearth
Like perennials that have long since seen Spring;
The fire has ceased to crackle and sing, treble mute
In the once-full pot atop the stove; the only sound
Is a clock enchased with dust, shining yellow with
Nostalgia in the eyes of a sleepy sun, rusting the sky;
If the sky were an empress, she belonged to Rome,
To rise and fall as the old man’s chest and his
Time-long beard that shuddered with the telling
Of a joke that might have made sense centuries ago
When the stars shook with a belly laugh, and
He told her to look for Saturn through the lens;
An entire world was their engagement ring,
Lavish in a way only the incredibly distant can be,
But now he sits in all his impenetrableness,
The universe eclipsed by a ceiling, the laughter
Of having beaten mechanisms of fate echoing
In a mind spongiformed with dementia;
She shuffles behind him, lighting fires
As the sun whittles itself away, stealing glances
At a stolen man, a man who belonged to Rome
But had nowhere to go; he means to speak,
But the weight of his quilt, the weight of his skin,
The weight of her eyes quiets lucidity,
And he slips to that place only the very aged
And very young have been—the place
Glimpsed by love, where the planets are
Connected by wonder, and the sky
Is the breadth of a dream away,
And she shuffles behind him, putting the house
To rest, content to know where he has wandered
And where she can reach him when they,
At long last, are closed from the sky.


About the Author:
WeibushElizabeth learned to write poetry when she decided typing up her stories would take too much time, and 12-year-olds have important schedules. She began writing with a ratio of 10 adjectives to every noun and five adverbs per verb, but she learned the value of being very, really, absolutely concise. If it wasn’t for terse history professors, she never would have learned that lesson, so she is grateful for her pursuit as a history major. This educational path proved to be a roadblock when she started looking for a job in the real world—her 17 page paper on Atlantis did not impress hiring managers as much as she thought it would.   Despite setbacks, she’s chugging along, eking out the little inspirations in life and transmuting them in her mind. The future scares her, but she is very, really, absolutely positive that it will be okay. Definitely.

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