“The Memory of a Star” by Evita Arakelian

2022 Pushcart Prize Nominee

2022 Best of the Net Nominee

When did we stop seeking reverence amongst stars?
The moment we caught them. I look at you;
the mystery that so befuddled you no more
clouds your half-moon eyes. To speak at all
would be to clear the wonder off your face—
you’ve found another shape you think beautiful.

I wish we knew apart all that is beautiful
from all that like the last surviving stars
fades at the touch of a dawn. The spinning face
of a dining room clock is all that binds to you
the contours of my reverie, and all
that half-heartedly leaves room for more—

more than words which yet again forget us, more
than failed attempts. That day I thought them beautiful,
the chrysanthemums we gave nearly all
our winnings—we had sold those rusty star-
shaped candlesticks—to buy (we were fools!). You
smiled at the one in my hair, nearly the size of my face!

I told you to love the woman, not the face
at that July festival—though it felt more
like May—but you (the first of your kind, you!)
laughed it off, said I was beautiful
said something, too, about the country stars
crowning my eyes in constellations—all

this you said, not burdened by my reality at all.
I let you be the silver sheath that subdues the face
of a battered moon and anoints poets out of stars;
the fire that welds from nothingness, more—
I let you be as I thought you were: beautiful—
I let your glory be the act of being you.

I’ve drummed my heart to the distant tune of you
long enough; you stand before me, all
you are—we should have better defined “beautiful”
before you squandered it upon my face
and I, your soul; I upon you forevermore
and you but for the lifespan of a star

undone, for all you know, just as it lights your face
with all the splendour of a light that is no more;
ephemeral yet beautiful, the memory of a star.

Evita Arakelian has obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the University of Tehran and is currently a student of English in the University of London. She has published her poem “Reverie” in the Summer 2021 issue of Off the Coast literary journal. Among her hobbies is making miniature figurines, including a set of Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes characters, and an upcoming Shakespeare.

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