M27, the Dumbbell Nebulaaging star

shedding outer layers
of airy gorgeous borealis
like a priest
flinging an embroidered chasuble
over the altar rail
on a hot day

or a dying beauty
in a furnished room
divesting the shimmering beaded silk
of her past triumph

an ages long farewell
as she sinks down in darkness

fragile skirts and petticoats
of light bright weaving
pooling around
her last curtsy
lit by pulsating lightning swells
through trees through windows

Copyright © 2009, Tree Riesener

Image Credit: NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Tree Riesener has published poetry and short fiction in numerous literary magazines. Her achievements include three first prizes for the Short-Short Story and the Literary Short Story at the Philadelphia Writers Conference, Finalist for Black Lawrence Press's Hudson Prize, Finalist in PANK magazine's Fiction Chapbook Contest, Semi-Finalist in the Pablo Neruda Competition, three short stories staged in the Writing Aloud productions of InterAct Theatre, Philadelphia, a Hawthornden International Writing Fellowship, two Pushcart nominations, and the William Van Wert Fiction Award. She is the author of three poetry collections, Inscapes, Angel Poison and Liminalog. Her website is http://www.treeriesener.com and she blogs at http://www.treeriesener.blogspot.com. This poem is from her manuscript, The Hubble Cantos.