astral cannibal

nina li coomes


blue stragglers are a type of
main sequence star cluster
that burn brighter and bluer
far past the age where most stars
die out
in 1991 astrophysicists discovered
the supernatural longevity of the
blue straggler was due to a sort of
astral cannibalism
                            which  is to say,
after several billion years,
a blue straggler will invite
a younger star into what
is known as ‘gravitational embrace’
siphoning off its hydrogen until
eventually devouring the younger
which is to say , it consumes
the younger star’s light
for itself

which is to say
you taste  like the acrid rust of pink
wine, or aspartame, or some
sort of sparking metal, a caved mine,
swallowing  my tongue、 the
blind  canary  
            which is to say, you the
            Freshman Research Intern
Back for the Summer with
A Good Pick Up Line About
Stars Called Blue Stragglers
Me the Girl Who Got Away,
High School Cock-Tease
in a Denim Skirt Who Lied
About Being On Her Period
Instead of Saying No
and Us,
the Inevitable Gravity
Of Stars in Embrace
which is to say
i noticed the sky dissected above
your shoulder, a clean slice of
constellation to ponder while
you rifled through me, a drawer
of what-ifs i had with-held so
cruelly, a hypothetical pinned
 on the wood of a tasteful patio-table
which is to say
you became emotional
crying a meteor shower  into
my knees on the curb while i
waited for you to sober
which is to
say you repeated these words:

if you ever end up with
anyone else i will never
forgive myself

 if you ever end up with
anyone else i will never
forgive myself

if you ever end up with
anyone else i will never
forgive myself

which is to say
a star lives a few billion years
or so,  which is to say     it
took a few billion years or so
for me to hear the canary, blind  &
screaming in my throat,
which is to say i’ve carried
a  slice of midwest
patio summer,  a night of
blue pillowed between my thighs
which is to say i know
you did this to her, too,
another summer, this time
against a bicycle rack,  you
muttering that you had chosen
math over space which is to say
you didn’t ask her about blue stragglers
but still a meteor fell into her lap  which is to say
i picked up the next morning when
she found the bruises in the
shower  it seems
there were many girls who got away
or didn’t  which is to say i hope
you never forgive yourself which is to
say above us,
                                a star engulfs another

Nina Li Coomes is a mixed-race writer born in Nagoya, bred in Chicago, now living in Queens. Her other work can be found in the alice blue review, Blue Stem, Medium’s Human Parts and elsewhere.