(For Mary)

by Mary-Marcia Casoly

She is surpassingly lovely throughout the whole of July,
emerging from the sea. Her northern declination
rapidly decreases

in direct proportion to our increased inclinations.
Divine love twists the torso
but does not prevent Venus from being

the most attractive bewitching grace
in our starlit sky, surfing
her way through our fallibility.

Infinite are summer nights.
Her appointed calendar so full to about
3 o’clock on the half-shell,

Improbably balanced, point ahead naked
or with the naked eye an opera starlet
that dares not collapse. Her transparent skin

so like the moon at last quarter.
Her linear passion takes place 1˚14’
north of the erudite. Sir Regulus takes the handle

of the sickle. Sir Leonis takes her spoon.
Witness this celestial meeting to know
what passes between them.

Nothing less than our failings converge
as tasks and loves yet to be. No reluctance
to become as we once were. Endless summer has

no perspective. Our dreams contrapposto,
at the very same time our principal actors dis-
appear from the scene; and we slip

beneath her horizon. An interesting phenomenon.
The bright moonlight may dim Regulus’s luster,
to no effect on Venus.

The ball keeps moving. Venus on the move and growing
more brilliant night after night in conjunctivitis
cahoots with Gamma Leonis,

following closely convivial conjecture with Rho Leonis.
It may be helpful to have some little knowledge
of opera, when our fairest star reaches

her greatest elongation. She’ll stick her neck out
for us, 45 ˚33’ – no contest.
Venus’s lessons will lengthen

our stay against destiny, drawing from
Kilgore Trout; being one with St. Bridget of Kildare,
thus proving her course changes as butter churns.

Twisting her torso left, she flips her head upside-down,
waterfalls of hair ripple above Rollingstone.
Figures cast no shadows

On the 31st of July she will sit little more than
an hour and a half after the sun. Venus’s right
ascension was the 2nd of July: 9 hrs 50 min long.

She cannot be defined by GPS. The bodies and poses
of the wind, even harder to figure out.
Her eyes are the color of the sea.

Rose petals skim air. She is surpassingly lovely.
Waves ease back and forth, challenge conventional
memory. The constellation of Leo rises.

IMAGE: “The Birth of Violet Venus,” based on “The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli (1486). Prints available at

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I found an old newspaper astronomy column dated July 1887. The quaint phrasings brought to mind some midnight social intrigue, and then Botticelli’s Venus arrived on the scene. While writing “Venus on the Half Year” I was told my birth mother had recently died. I was struck how beautiful she looked in her obituary photo. The poem became a kind of elegy, in which I send her onward to mythic rebirth.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary-Marcia Casoly is the author of Run to Tenderness (Pantograph&Goldfish Press 2002) and the editor of Fresh Hot Bread, a local zine for Waverley Writers, an open poetry forum based in the San Francisco Bay area. Her chapbook Lost Pages of Bird Lore was published by Small Change Series, WordTemple Press (2011) Her chapbook “Austrailia Dreaming” is included in the The Ahadada Reader 3, published by Ahadada Press (2010) Her poem “Song of Mayhem” appears in the Silver Birch Press May Poetry Anthology (2014).