Photographic plate of the Pleiades, 1972

Photographic plate of the Pleiades, 1972

Something about the sisters
drives Orion to madness

in love with all seven at once

a cluster of sweetness
he tastes on his lips
as raspberries.

He leaps rivers
for just a glimpse of
Electra’s wet ringlets
Alcyone’s neck
imagines a sweep
of his arms
netting them.

The sisters will have none of it.

They run on cut feet
through the fields
their trailing hair teasing him on

run miles without glancing back

until they collapse
breathless and pleading
on a rock, the hunter
in sight and gaining.

Even Zeus is watching.
He chuckles
as he folds the girls together
and tosses them up
to the sky, last refuge

flings them so fast
the softness strips from
Sterope’s lips
Maia’s shoulder
even Celaeno’s delicate arms

even the honeysuckle
scent of their hair

Orion unmoved
lusts for what remains:
their winking blue eyes.

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