Under the Yoke of Inauspicious Stars

by Nancy Flynn

You burn me,
a bundle of duty,
a pietà limp,
acute angle
in your arms.
We blaze
through Orion,
beyond Virgo
one more night
by the strip mine,
our backs a trail
along the strut
of the empty
water tank—
69 painted white
on its towering rust.
That’s what
goes on here.
But not now, not us.
The valley below alit,
a nameless constellation
of lights, daytime’s ugly
gussied up.
We hold hands,
your voice a precious
rumble, pea coal raked
as you speak
of saints and hate
and those who would
shut us off from God.
Our innocence held taut,
flamboyant in itself.
Neither of us brave
enough to climb skyward,
to banshee our longings
loud above the grim
bottomless gash.