‘Three planets rise in transit…’

[The Keats Brothers to Richard Abbey/13 June 1816]

Three planets rise in transit, but their star
is someplace else, occulted and half-dreamt–
like money, childhood, a mother’s death.
What orbits can that x-ed out cipher
organize. What bright mold grows on debt,
compounded and shipped back
in lung, on air, on deck, bacterium
or barreled cash crop from the States, dream
of lossless compression, Pacific
health, a bud that will not fade.

It’s mid-June. Roses hide in petticoats
letters with brown signatures, presages
of decadence.  And now a livid star emerges
from the planets that concealed it.

–Joyelle McSweeney