When You Have a Crush on an Older Planet

Maggie Millner

When you have a crush on an older planet
Just because he’s older and writes well
Just because he has more moons than you
More planetary rings and active volcanoes
Please be careful with your magma heart
Protect the perfect oval of your orbit from his pull
Because it likely will not end well
And is probably a power thing

An older planet tried to get with me one time
It was clear he liked ’em nubile and telluric
Nippled with mountains, delicately ice-capped
Still, I told myself it was my Craft that really got him
My taste for Plath and Oppen

And besides I was a young and tiny spheroid
With literary aspirations and no job
And the older planet had a name as famous as a Roman god’s
A shelf of books, a named professorship, a wife
I thought, “All my life I’ll get to tell my planet friends
I did it with this gaseous giant, what a lark”
I was hot like perihelia for him

No, we never did it
And maybe it would have been chill
But I suspect it would have made me feel
More like a comet caught in patriarchal solar wind
Farting out a white tail of indignities and lies
And never knowing if it was my work
Or sweet-ass little cratons that he liked

And anyway, the cosmos is always tilting toward
Those older and more massive bodies
And when rocks like us say no
We do ourselves a solid
We feel stellar for a second:
Hot and bright and almost thermonuclear