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Thursday, May 11, 2023


by Barbara Simmons

Watching it disappear, 
this planet gobbled up
by something so much smaller,
the very star it circled swallowed it,
reminds me of that ancient feeling, 
vanishing into another,
brought into being by my insecurity,
my inability to feel complete unless
submerged, immersed, subsumed
into another’s orbit.
Those days are gone, my learning
not to be absorbed so fully that
I’d lose myself in someone else’s space.
It’s taken time, not fifteen thousand years
astronomers are saying it took 
the star to nibble up its planet, though
decades in my earthly life I often 
count as infinite.
What I have learned the planets must:
circle stars more safely, 
spend time while wheeling 
looking back and in,
insuring you understand
both apogee and perigee, 
assuring you’ll be fine
both with, without, and by yourself.
Nothing’s as dark as orbiting gone awry,
nothing as lonely as losing who and where you are.

Barbara Simmons grew up in Boston, resides in California—both coasts inform her poetry. A graduate of Wellesley College, she received an MA in The Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins, and an MA in Education and Counseling from Santa Clara University. A retired educator, she continues to savor life and language, exploring words as ways to remember, envision, celebrate, mourn, and try to understand. Publications have included Boston Accent, The NewVerse News, Topical Poetry, DoubleSpeak, Soul-Lit, 300 Days of Sun, Capsule Stories – Summer Edition, Swimming, Journal of  Expressive Writing,  and her recently published book Offertories: Exclamations and Disequilibriums from Friesen Press.