Scarlet planet | Bronwyn Lovell

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.

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