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Earthrise Tango

The Giantess on Venus tangoed with Earth’s moon who dressed in her silver ensemble of arms and legs, crafted by the Giantess herself, bodice of moon sheltered in Dickinson’s last surviving frock, glinting trinkets at her belt.
     After Giantess declared her love, and conditions were set by Moon—build me a silver body, attire me, hinder my roll through space to attach the silvery limbs
—the two outliers danced until lightfall, where, on Venus, each day is longer than an Earth’s year. And dance on and on they did.
     Once the dance was nearly done, Moon moaned she missed her beloved Earth—its blue and white swirling ice cream syrup, Earthrise shinning from a cone of darkness, and her nightly striptease to Sun’s armor mirror, waning and waxing, new into blue.
     Giantess’ tears vaporized on contact with Venus’ deep heat, for, though not brilliant, she knew nothing can be undone; what is sacrificed cannot arise anew. And she whispered an elegy to Moon by the beat of the tango through which they sailed and told Moon the fatal tale of Earth …

The Giantess, herself, had been born in the depths of the beautiful mother, slept under her mantle of darkness and there saw the two-armed, two-legged creatures pillage Her hidden psyche and steal Her earthly plasma.

     Earth with coal in her coat flaps
     Crematory chimney Earth
     How She recomposed Her memories,
     Decomposed the babies that fueled Her, fed Her,
     Ginkgoes and ferns enshrouded, embalmed by Her,
     Alchemically converted into chimera

     Doors buried deep in Earth’s sacred uterus, nucleus

     Fossil fuel or Earth’s ancient cemetery
     Under-forest oil of aquatic remains wrapped in mud and Earth’s hearth

     And then they probed Her umbilicus
     The energy resources of Her dreams,
     With white gloves performed curettage,
     Scraping Her uterine wall, and She was cleaned
     Out, vacated

     Nothing burbled below the dense surface.
     They aborted Her aboriginal cashe.

     To Mona, or Muna—meaning unreachable wishes—the Giantess sang.

Her perfect face through a wavy window, orphan moon, enervated moon


“Smith me in silver, shelter me, hinder my roll through space”

And roll she did, no Earth to orbit, no title to troll,
                                                                      sparkling trinkets at her belt.

The Giantess on Venus tangoed nature’s homeless satellite, hither and tither they rolled,

And she whispered an elegy to her beloved partner, once labeled La Luna, to the swish of the tango, through which they sailed, the fatal tale of Earth …

Asleep under Her mantle of darkness, there I saw the pillaging of Her root-cellar psyche, the rape of Her ancient toil. Doom buried deep in Earth’s sacred uterus

     Remains swathed in mud and Earth’s design,
     An underbelly fallout shelter She conceived
     Over millennia, self-storage facilities piped
     With petro wells, winding crawl-spaces for verdure
     Canning, and a last resort key to Her escape vehicle
     For drifting on speed-limit less freeways of light years

     Said Giantess, She learned
     She was animal, plant, fungi, protista, monera
     Before She formed into a perishable
     She understood unbounded existence
     And left as peacefully as a wave passing a mollusk
     To a distant shore, fathomed
     She wasn’t merely earth, but also water, air, fire, quintessence

     Then Earth vanished into a sliver

The Giantess told Moon that Earth had nothing more
Stored in her basement—her glorious palace stripped
                                                                                     And sold off in pieces

     She, who you were once tied to, has been depleted, discarded


Tango is the dance of immigrants, of slaves, of those dancing toward freedom.
Tango is the dance of sorrow, endless longing. In the outskirts of an infinite sky,
One planet less, meaningless. Tango.

Humble moon, who learned from Earth
To glimpse the universe as her shoe.

Martine Bellen’s most recent collection of poetry is This Amazing Cage of Light: New and Selected Poems (Spuyten Duyvil). She is a librettist of Moon in the Mirror (colibrettist Zhang Er, composer Stephen Dembski), which will be performed during the Chinese New Year at Cleveland State University.