by Maryann Aita

your hands
are what I remember most:
withered, like they never
knew love.
I used to think it was vanity
like cassiopeia dared the ocean
gods with boasts of her beauty.
in the ocean, we would drown,
capsized and corroded
by saltwater. I would reach my hands
for your hands and slip
through the split between us.
you starved yourself. she drank. I waited
for my knight.
the vain queen, her chained princesses.
you were frail, I was
now, I think it was about taking up space.
andromeda, chained
to a boulder, waves lashing,
waiting to be devoured—
when a mother’s heart is made of wire,
it can be unwound. but what
will be left?
a hole, a hunger,
an emptiness,
a constellation, a galaxy:
memorial to a prisoner
rescued by chance.
why can’t a princess ever save herself?
your hands are what I remember most,
but all of you was hungry.
you were skeletal. I was hollow
as a hunger. a falling star
is merely space dust burning
through earth’s ether,
but it glimmers all the way down.
in the sky, we will be immortal.

Maryann Aita is the author of Little Astronaut, an experimental memoir in essays (ELJ Editions, 2022). Her work has also appeared in PANK, Hobart, Okay Donkey, and The Coachella Review, among others, and she is the nonfiction editor at Press Pause Press. Maryann holds a BA from NYU and MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Originally from Montana, she now lives in Brooklyn with three cats.

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