Mitosis, and Perihelion

by Faryn Black


I. Interphase

Building pillow-forts on the floor, a dollhouse
for two. Fattened, insulated cellular walls
lined with pages torn from diaries. Holding hands.
Winding. Binding. Trusting whispers in an invented
language, where everything means I love you.

II. Pro(meta)phase

Tick tick tick this time. Checklists
of Halloween costumes and Christmas gifts. New rifts.
Playing tag and paying heed to growth spurts
and new hurts. Stretching, pulling each other
in newfound security. Twinning effects affectations.

III. Metaphase

Like attracted like. Sister chromatides
aligned. Side by side. Noting each other’s faults,
tectonic, but still semi-seismic. A distant rumble
of nervous glances; last chances.

IV. Anaphase

Twin fibres thinning, security blankets pulled threadbare,
the seams give. Cleaved with surgical precision. Decisions.
Devastation. Mutation and everything changes now.
Fictional afflictions. Sororal sides are taken up. Divided,
and the battle lines are drawn.

V. Telophase

Only closure remains elusive. The final excision
of wounded women, limping home to shiver under blankets
drawn tight. Draw the blinds and lock the doors.
Faithless, faceless, nameless to each other now.


“Auntie, what’s the sun made of?”
I contemplate nuclear fusion
in the mind of a five-year-old.

She wide-eyes the world. Dirty fingernails
trace trajectories and orbits in astronomy books
with fading dog-eared pages and broken spines.
Her lips bow as gravity comes home. She understands,
or very much wants to.

The future of all possible worlds
sits, brown-skinned and black-eyed
beautiful, in my lap. Right now, she will be
a cosmonaut –tomorrow, a doctor; yesterday,
a fire truck. Outcomes are infinite.

The world has not filled her yet. She is still vast,
uncharted, and expanding exponentially;
her momentum terrific and humbling. Solar flares
of understanding light her face
–the combustion of comprehension.

As close to perfect as she will ever be, not yet dense
from expectation’s crush. Still primed to bang big;
a star of all proportion on a distant horizon.

“Auntie? What’s the sun made of?”
Potential, my darling.