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Constellations Orion's Belt Orion's Bow Lovers Star-Crossed Romance Gay Fantasy

Fall 2022

Starlight for Orion

A poem by Andrew Liu

Love lost forgotten gay straight old queer remembering Orion myth passion

This was the story, that she betrayed you,

that you betrayed her, broken vows, both sides,

both trapped in the same falling coin. I wanted

to pull you out of there, as she, that callous hunter,

left you, this callous hunter, dead from

what was it? The sting, the poison?

Blood loss? I cannot even fathom

how that body of yours, once

so resolute it strode shoulder to shoulder

with mountains, arms big as tree trunks,

a chest broader, more powerful than the sea,

could become the lifeless earthwork before me.

I did not wish to see you. Not like this.

This was the story, that they betrayed you,

that it was the earth mother, that it was

the jealous twin brother, that the scorpion

whose master changes hands depending

on the teller of the tale, was only obeying

a higher instinct. Well, that doesn't mean

I didn't smile as my hands aged, withered,

rotted its slanderous body, those sleek scales,

the chitinous armor turning to eggshell

in my hands. I admit, it was wonderful

to feel vengeance's cruel glow

illuminate my hollowing forms.

But that was only half the story:

Copper wire, bronze eyelids, what remains

of your first love, this tribute

to a king of a land made savage with beasts.

Hephaestus, that old cripple with a heart like

sun, fixed you up with vision, a thousand

whirring gears, only a thousandth

of a centimeter wide, churning, turning,

nerves aligned with nerves, wired

like a clock to dynamite. He didn't know

how soon you would become

a monster, the monster

you were fated to be. How those

clockwork eyes would become

the unblinking ommateum

to a swollen horde of resentment.

But, that wasn't it. That wasn't the you

I had known. In my version of the story

it was the sun who took pity

on you, who had become sullen,

hopeless, with eyes as placid as milk.

Then warmth, celestial, spreading

all over your face as that old soft-heart

kissed you, chased your blindness away.

In many ways, it was a lie. In others,

a peace offering.

In the story after the story

I met you, then, wrapped up

in your hatred of the girl, her innocence.

Her loss overshadowed by yours. Too much

for one heart to bear. The Underworld

roared from the magnitude of your suffering.

I pulled you closer, whispering:

Do not go where I cannot see,

into the dark I cannot reach.

Please. Remember my suffering.

Remember my hand reaching out.

To grasp at nothing.

And into the world I had created

out of your suffering, the broad trees,

the endless fields, the world, empty

of all sans you and me. I told you,

“Chase me. Hunt me down.

And if you catch me

you will know. And see.”

Love lost forgotten gay straight old queer remembering Orion myth passion

So we ran. Into the dense,

soundless trees. Their faces,

whole bodies of nothing

but green noise. I felt you coming after me

through the lush, rain-kissed world,

tumbling over branches, flying

like the light of a thousand springs.

I never wanted this to end, the chase,

the leaves, the light! Your heart

beating just the same as mine in flight.

You, flying after, so swiftly over the roots

and branches, arms hanging loose, legs pumping

for their lives, as if even the trees, even the stillness

of branches, of hollow air, was after you.

Was something you wanted to escape. Your eyes

steamed with heat, piercing the air, following

each fired arrow, volley after volley,

so fast, each futile fusillade flickering as

I flowed like snow through your hands, melting

through the holes of your net, water-water

a nothingness like water, your hunt

meaning nothing to one as I, so careless, so effortless

and made of such silence. You

threw yourself through the dreaming forest,

wanting desperately, so fiercely, for

what was it exactly? That closed longing.

When your breath came shallow and fast,

the air blurred blue with wildflower and-and

all you could see was me, this fleeting figure,

rolling-rolling, a distant sun, a field

ablaze with flower and air.

You were so close, coming in

so fast, I thought, almost, for just-

a minute, I thought-

you would catch me.

of flower
came loose from my fingertips.

Outstretched, my

hand aligned alongside

this, some small scrap of self,

this brave baby explorer

of the space between you

and me.

And all at once,

it fell to you.

One second

to have your

hand collide

with nothing.

Just one

for me to

pull away. I

could not be reached.

You fell out of the dreaming world,

eyes ruined from sorrow.

But I was there, I was always there.

I held my hand out to you and

in your blindness, you recognized me.

And you fell on top of me, our legs

splayed like rose stems

after a wave of applause.

To be wrapped inside such joy

is to be embraced by this, the wide-brimmed sky,

the blue water, the endless fields of grass.

And I held you, a blue sky

turning to stars, night falling upon us

like a scattering of dream-spun light.

The dark shade in your hair dissolving

to sandy wheat, like grains,

like sun-sweetened heat. The bronze

melted off your eyes, coppery tears as

your heart broke loose, running fast,

flooding with starlight.

Your eyes

were the color

of paradise.

Andrew Liu is a 2020 MFA graduate of CSU Long Beach’s Creative Writing - Poetry program. He has published in two student magazines: East Los Angeles City College’s Milestone and CSU Long Beach’s Riprap. You can read his MFA thesis, California Metaphysics, which collects some of his best poems, on CSULB’s thesis database here. You can also view a recording of a virtual reading of selected poems organized by Andrew Liu and his friend Jesse Tovar on Youtube here.

Copyright © 2022 by Andrew Liu
Published by Orion's Beau
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