Star formation in the Rho Ophiuchi cloudIf we could eat light, she says,
do you think it would all be spoiled by now?
Billions of years to reach us.
I squint into the night sky.
The stars could be blossoms,
unripe, white, months from harvest.
I know the ones that fall scatter pieces like petals,
but each piece is hard as a seed.
What do you suppose they'd be
if they bloomed, she asks,
cherry or peach, death or immortality.
She snorts when I say, starfruit.
She's bloomed, my sister, lovely as lotus
floating on the water.
I dip my oar and push,
lift and try to read her future
in the pattern of salt and pyrite on wood.
It's not hard when we are all the people in the world,
two women on a slow boat to the end of time.
If you are what you eat, I say to make her smile,
would light make us stars?
Her eyes shine when she laughs,
more bracing than sea wind.
Here, she says, this one's ripe.
She reaches up her hand to Venus,
plucks something from the sky.
She opens her fingers, petals around light,
offers me the first bite.
We share as sisters do,
death, immortality.

Copyright © 2010, J. C. Runolfson

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

J. C. Runolfson's work has appeared in Goblin Fruit, Strange Horizons, and previously in Astropoetica, among others.  She first learned astronomy in conjunction with myth, and the connection between stories and stars continues to influence her poetry.  Currently, she lives in San Diego, near her beloved Pacific.