Betelgeuse

All light is former mass
she heard a man say.
Deep in the shape
she has made
rests a glass lotus, no,
a bottle of colored sand
swept from a mandala,
no, a black hand.
In the palm is a wheel.
It spins her into sets
of five limbs: arms, legs,
head, each arrayed
with five ways to take
the world, take it in:
five fingers, five toes,
five monstrous senses:
eyes, ears, mouth,
nose, skin. Some
centrifuge pulls her
out from a center
like carnival taffy or light,
a star exploding slowly
in the shoulder of Orion.
Up close, she shines.
From far enough away
she’s already dead.

2021

with thanks to Rilke for lines 3 and 4

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