Poem: Constellations

Zeus sought Ganymede for his beauty, and the Aquarius I know will be chased after by men and women for the same reason. We will meet occasionally as air and water does, but are often far apart: intellectually, emotionally, purposely. He will lie because it is fun and he is afraid. He will have his own philosophy on life, but will never tell anyone what it is. He will like games, and take others home at night just to forget what to call them the next morning—although deep down, he will know their names. He will not be afraid to point out the awkward moments in conversation, and will do so with an impeccable, catty smile. I will figure out he knows how beautiful his smile is and how easily it is for him to be charming. By then, I will also know how he’s never told anyone how his father used to grab his arm hard enough that it bruised, or that he still misses his mother. One evening, I will mock him, he will glower at me with crisp anger. He will become a child who wants a fair game. When he’s finally calm, his body will slump and he will hide his face in shadow. “Just don’t do it again. Forget about it,” he will say. But I will know he won’t forget.

My father, the fish, will not swim. He will only go in if the water is 80 degrees or higher. I will have only one clear memory of him swimming when he took me into the Florida canal outside my grandmother’s house, before the divorce. In an old photo, my father smiles at the camera as he holds onto the yellow tube that keeps me afloat. It will have been taken before he worked a half a life in an emergency room and another half with a gun on his belt and a rifle in his cruiser. After a certain point, when anyone takes a picture of him, he will no longer show his teeth, and he will grind them often. Pisceans live two very different lives. He will wear his uniform and the expressions he was given in the academy for the remainder of his life. His voice will be deep and like stone. His posture will be stiff and his dark eyes will look down before strangers, all observing. He will notice a stranger’s bent brow, he will hear the subtle lie. But around others, he will act like a child, trying to make up for moments he may have lost when his clothes never fit right. On my 21st birthday, he will give me a bottle of beer that he kept since I was born, with tears in his eyes, recalling the two lives he lived. He will think of the ones I will experience going forward, and he will say how amazing it is we’ve both made it this far.

She will remind me of a gentle queen, and often stay quiet about her emotions to keep peace. She will be fond of décor, as Libras are, and she will have a sense of style. Even the magazines that pile up in the corners of her 19th century farmhouse will be done in an elegant way, with their titles turned to make a spiraling tower. The house will be lined with French doors and windows with a light that comes in through the fields and the valley mountains. When I stay there on a winter night with the house warmed by a blackened wood stove, I will hear the creek through the cracked windows as I fall asleep in the bedroom with the sloped ceiling. She will be a photographer, but I will never seen her take a picture. She will be difficult, just as hard to unravel as it is to open a roll of film in the dark. Like many, she will be afraid. She will fear the unknown most of all, the vulnerability that so often tips the scale. She will ask everyone how they are, not in politeness, but knowing we will all face what she fears.

The ram I will meet will be different from any other, and no one he knows will be able to figure out why. He will positive and bright and kind. Sometimes, he will be so generous that people will wonder what they owe. Many will think he is opinionated when all he really wants is to tell the truth despite consequences, all while digging his hooves into the ground about what he knows is fact. Arieans love challenges, and in his stubborn way, he will make things more difficult just to see what the possibilities are. He will talk  in a rhythm, his stories and explanations arriving with drops and pauses and thoughts in between words, exasperated, gasped, shouted through the hours it takes to finish the story. But it will always be entertaining and insightful. His stories will always be an adventure. Although he will think that he can hide, it will be easy to tell beneath his tossed hair when he feels lost. He will sigh in this midst of words, his face will be downcast. His eyes, the most vibrant part of him, will be lost.

My Sagittarius, like most Sagittarians, will not like to be fenced in. Even when madly in love, she will consider all faults and carefully determine what kind of border she will have around her: a picket fence with curled rings and knots in the wood or one with cold, wrought iron bars.  She will be an artist, she will be messy and she will be passionate. She will coat her hands in charcoal and pastels and take into consideration whether or not her lover will mind if they get a little bit of paint on their face, too. When she is happy, she will be exuberant, like the warmth one gets from a familiar artwork, even though they have never seen it before. When she is sad, she will be depressed, with a coldness like color of the waves in a Turner seascape. When she is angry, she will keep her bow drawn, but never strike. Her arrow will dip down, and she will watch with intense eyes, staying as silent as a solitary artist in her studio.

My Capricorn will dress sharp. His hair will always be slicked back, his trousers pressed, and he will look as though he’s stepped into the room from the 1930’s, although it’s just natural for him. He’s will not try to look like Clark Gable or Gene Kelly, but he won’t mind if I tell him he did. Although his appearance will be sharp and tidy, he himself will not. He will struggle to balance. He will often fall into a mysterious nostalgia with distant eyes and creased brow. He will be looking into another place, and no matter how much he dresses the part or describes what he’s thinking, he will feel as though no one can see it but him. He will lead me to places long forgotten to try and help me understand, bringing me through thickets full of broken cars. He will name their years and models, but none of themno matter their year or colorwill help him find the piece he is missing. He will try to regain it by staring at automobiles that no longer work, by dressing the part he wants to be, by searching the sky for stars no one can see.