Leslie Joy Ahenda,

after “Venus,” Erik Olson, oil on panel, 48 x 36 inches (2011)

born of seafoam collected in gravity’s hands
venus murcia tempers the chaos in shallow waters
and when sweetsmelling myrtle
grows through her clouds
her dense atmosphere cannot deny her fertility

abiogenesis could happen here too
venus caelestis
keeper of desires
victories too
when sparks spread like warships
she diverts their wrath into carbon
their fire heats her mantle until critical
global‐scale subduction
implodes her crust into her self
until wounded and alone
she begins her orogenesis again

her farra form in clusters near tesserae
deformations in her skin
ancient and thin
and the pulsating continents
the isostatic atmosphere
the circling and circling trojan asteroids
and the faults that spike into poison air
testing the safety
in the vacuum around her

intratessera volcanics lack lava flow
yet still spill magic into their clusters
filling fissures
like carefully portioned seedlings
turning slow turning steady
amassing heat and stealing light
into herself

she builds lightning from ash
sparks myrtle into being

offerings burnt by sulfuric acid
still intend to be beautiful
and the way light exits a body
only becomes adulterous
when basalt gives way to convection
and solar wind sweeps lifewaters away

venus verticordia
changer of hearts
keeps her own core hidden
beneath imaginary ashen light
beneath isothermal atmosphere
beneath the hottest darkest crust no small thing could break
though some impact craters have come close
when one breaches the surface
she will again implode
pull her crust into her self
until she may begin her orogenesis again


From The Malahat Review's spring issue #214