while we walk home from the bar in January. The moon is out. I watch it shimmy and I love it for that. You tell me that Venus doesn’t have a moon. Doesn’t have a companion in orbit. Venus came home empty-handed and pretends not to be sad about it. You grip my red fingers tighter.
You tell me about Venus and its axis. It takes Venus two hundred and forty-three days to rotate around its own spine, meaning it takes two hundred and forty-three of our days for Venus to have one day of its own. To see the sun rise and set again from the planet’s front porch, beer in smoldering hand. And it takes Venus two hundred and twenty-five days to orbit the sun, forming the length of its year. You tell me about Venus and how in its atmospheric swirl, one day is longer than one year. Every day is Venus’s birthday.
(If one day was longer than one year, I’d never sleep. I’d spend all day fitting lightbulbs to the streetlight orbs because nightfall would take months. I’d keep moonsong in my throat to make up for Venus’s lack of one. I’d give you as much moonsong as you want.)
Venus. Think about it. All atmosphere and volcano.
Venus. The goddess. Thick and fire.
Except Venus the goddess was born from sea foam. She calms the fire of Mars. Julius Caesar claimed Venus as his ancestor. Men come to her. Venus was born from sea foam and doesn’t need a moon to move the tide. She can turn it all into ice. Freeze the whole planet over.
And then you tell me this: Venus’s orbit is backwards. It’s clockwise when every other planet is counter. The entire solar system insists that Venus has it all wrong. Venus stamps its volcano feet and slips on its smokiest shade of lipstick. Venus does what Venus wants.
You tell me about Venus while we walk home to your apartment. On our planet, a thick layer of ice is covering the snow. I detour, pull on your hand a little bit, to walk on it. With each tipsy bootprint, I crunch through that ice. Through that glass. Through that atmosphere. If this is what it takes for me to feel like a goddess, then so be it.
—Marissa Wais is a 25 year old Michigan native. She holds bachelor degrees in French and in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. Her biggest adventure was living and teaching in the rural alpine village of Villard de Lans, France, but she’s currently making herself at home in Detroit.