by LINDA EDDINGS
Aries: God gave you the earth, the sun, and the stars? What did you do with it?
I saw you walking among the plants. You smashed a tomato, a living thing which did not breathe or offer up its name. Years from now, your skull will take on tiny, imperceptible fractures at the base. Call your mother.
Taurus: The awkward moment when you arrive anywhere, as if it is someplace you think you truly belong.
I can read the exhaustion on your face. What you are tired of are things complete in themselves, which do not even require you a little bit.
The moon in July emits an acrid light. Avoid its gaze like you do mine. I hope in Bali, a decade from now, I run into you with your wife, and she smells vaguely of vaseline and turpentine.
Gemini: All flaws double. Next to you on a plane a child traces the sign of the cross. He aimlessly kicks the seat of a better person than you.
You are engaged to some basic with the personality of a brontosaurus. Your mother says she is harmless and bakes a cake for my anniversary. I always sensed we got along a lot better than you and I.
Cancer: Last year my dog was sprayed by a skunk on Gravel St. The skunk marched away officiously, letting me know what she had done was not only a reflex, but also a choice.
Badgers, groundhogs, centipedes and fire ants. There is no accounting for preference. But when I saw a gentleness in you, I shuddered, like watching a hyena care for its young.
Leo: Makeshift piles of all the things you wanted to remember, spread out in a oval. “I want to travel,” you bleated, but the farthest you made it was the island off that little beach. In the distance, clouds negotiated a gentle peace with each other.
Don’t take all the oxygen. Leave some for the birds.
Virgo: You don’t know anything beyond what you have been told. What you were told was passed on by a crooked woman with the longest nails in the county. The county seat was vacant for many years. All the flowers and streamers were placed in a dumpster. They were replaced by a generous philanthropist whose name escapes me.
Libra: You could make the dish in the traditional way. Would it not be more fun to think abstractly? What is food? What is this reality? On the far side of the planet Saturn, men meet and decide such important questions as what they will wear to the dinner party and how best to empathize with creatures from outer space.
You know this place isn’t yours, even though you keep your things here. What you can own isn’t even half a percent of what you see.
The traditional way is lost to us now.
Sagittarius: Thumbs pointed up, you climbed a mountain. Each step you took was the eventual marker of an angry soul. And look at the pieces of the avalanche! The face you recognize the most is not the one you love, but an approximation.
Find a way to work the shit emoji into a text with your new boyfriend.
Capricorn: Hold a treasured doll at a ninety degree angle to your face. When a treasured friend asks for advice, mete out the opposite of your inner belief. You have lost that treasured guide. You have come to a treasured Asian bakery.
Below this establishment, kittens play easily, sweetly. They play Uno.
Aquarius: Standing next to you in line, I sensed others watching us. They wanted to see how we would touch, when we would touch.
Instead we address each other without proximity or ease of use. “Your alma mater,” I say. “Alone for miles,” you respond, and the lights meant to direct us forwards flicker on and off.
I could stand further back, or move in a step or two. Neither would put me close to the thing that I am when I close my eyes.
Pisces: You are so sweet to talk to me, to tell me you are thinking of me. You are so kind. You make this sordid act of living better and I am grateful for you, until the next orbit.
Linda Eddings is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.