Ms Mars, would you have been judged
so harshly if your globe had glowed
another hue? Red for passion, aggression,
and the place men come from too,
apparently. Astrology, pop psychology
so retrograde they can’t know you at all.
Backward star signs foretell no future.
Your moods are never heated —
your rocks are all at rest. Volcanic outbursts
are ancient past. The fire has died
inside you. Now, you scald with frost.
If cells still seethe, you’ve kept them
hidden deep in desert wastelands
or craters cracked with cold.
Your gentle storms sweep only dust,
devoid of spit or spark. You’ve gone soft
in your old age. Bit by bit, your hold
on the atmosphere weakens, learns
to let go. Now you know that everything
fades, drifts soundlessly away. You do
not fight it. You’ve grown comfortable
with solitude. You realise men are more
trouble than they’re worth. You no longer
envy your pretty young neighbour Earth.
But red is a risky colour to flash across
the night. Beware the interest it invites.
Bronwyn Lovell's poetry has featured in Best Australian Poems, Meanjin, Southerly, Cordite, Antipodes, Rabbit, Verity La, and Strange Horizons. She has won the Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award and the Adrien Abbott Poetry Poetry Prize. She has been shortlisted for the Judith Wright, Fair Australia, Newcastle, Montreal, and Bridport Prizes.