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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