She Wore a Belt of Stars

including A Side Trip to Italy and The Astronomer's Lesson
She wore a belt of stars,
dust scattered her starlight,
she wandered through the undarkness, touching new flowers like young lovers, almost meaning something.
we died together in a beautiful moment tangled in impossible emotions.
she was a maid of apparitions, of occultations, of wandering orbits, fluttering among lighted unempty nonspaces.
she lingered there,
and there,
leaving glittering dustclouds in her wake, to bear suns and worlds out of swirling nothingness.
we knew she lived in other places we couldn't ever know,
but we looked for ways to get to her everywhere, all the same.
a piper took up her song, and she danced quietly in other tempos, smiling in a way that made me feel I was drowning in cold abysses of sleep-drenched sea crypts.
I even joined the dance,
in some realities.
We knew the truths were different elsewhere, that was why we called them
I saw her in a public place, minding the birds with careful felicity.
The moment seemed calculated to affect me the most,
the sun shining on St. Mark's square, the gondolas bobbing gently in the dirty, skinny canals which crawled between the ancient buildings with their incredibly glittering stores, streets leading back into joyful labyrinths of commercialism which seemed to belong to a fantasy world, or a collection of worlds, all like the delicate glass objects lying on glass shelves behind every glass window, impossibly intricate things asking quietly for attention.
In Venice, I knew her, though I never knew Venice.
In Florence,
in the night sky on breath-stealing hill tops,
I asked her things;
she answered in some other language,
no, not Italian, there was no Italy where we were, only cities floating around suns in empty skies.
We spoke in the dawn of evening, knowing there would never be another time.
Astral bridges stretched out from all those places, and she escaped from me everywhere, to those places only she could find.
And her body became a false image, plagued by asterism, shining so much she grew a halo and she seemed to be the shape of a cross, and how could I bear that?
Things drifted, I didn't see her again, until that last moment of crazy machine gun fire when the celestial horizon lit up in one fantastic unending cessation of evening, and intermission
became the ending by default.


Jim Genzano

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