What Rough Beast | Poem for October 8, 2017

Laura Page
Late Saviors Self-Immolate

Named for Giovanni Domenico Cassini, a 17th century astronomer who first discovered a dark gap in the rings of Saturn, and Christiaan Huygens, the scientist who discovered Titan and recognized Saturn’s rings for what they are, the Cassini-Huygens probe orbited Saturn from July 2004 to September 2017.

Finally capitulating, a bee
abandoning the bud that never opened for her,

she spoke of the place bristling for the moon-sick,
for doubters.

You’re going to hell, she said, without malice.

Cassini drives steadfast into a fiery Saturn,
space-clover, bristling with cameras.

How I open and purple like that, too late.
how bees, endangered, still can’t subvert

a flashback to sting, to soda spilled, sticky
on sandals discarded, kamikaze spacecraft

yellow and black and moral and me, red all over,
swollen, but not hell-bound, not yet, not then.

Cassini is kinder, self-immolating the way
Christ would have had he been able to choose

his end, saving none, except to grant vistas
of Titan, hydrocarbon meadows, easy grace.


Laura Page is the author of Children, Apostates (dgp, 2016), Sylvia Plath in the Major Arcana (Anchor & Plume, forthcoming), and epithalamium (forthcoming), chosen by Darren C. Demaree as the winner of the Sundress Publications 2017 chapbook competition. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Crab Creek Review, The Fanzine, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Red Paint Hill, The Rumpus, Unbroken, Maudlin House, TINGE, and elsewhere. Page is a graduate of Southern Oregon University and editor of Virga Magazine.

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