Venus’ Intransigence

— Barbara Saxton

Click shut the latch.
Spurn his offers of coffee
or pitiful pastry. Ignore snarky-smiled
query: You OK to drive?

T-straps dangling down
from two talented digits, tired body
poured back into cinnamon sheath still reeking
of smoke and stale sex, I trolled
the underground garage for signs
of my ’66 Volvo, found it parked
near a puddle of watery oil, flat
and lusterless as last evening’s
sad, gin-fueled wit.

Lives left far, far behind us rear up
at odd moments. I should have stayed home
that June day, not traipsed off to NASA
to witness firsthand a phenomenon touted
as one of astronomy’s rarest events.

That morning, Venus herself overslept,
delaying her usual, more dignified, departure
from a strange god’s apartment. She dallied
till mid-afternoon, only to stumble, dazed and hung over,
smack into an array of huge lenses and telescopes,
trained on her utter mortification.

One look, and I deeply regretted
joining throngs gathered to view
a Goddess’ slow shameful transit.
Venus looked less like Botticelli’s clam bombshell
and more like a dark pokey mole
creeping across Helios’ smirking orange face.

Venus, I’ll friend you on Facebook and beg
your forgiveness for succumbing
to scientists’ seductions! Given hundreds of lifetimes,
I’ll waste not one more helping nerds celebrate
your celestial humiliation.

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