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Love Planet

Rachael Nicholson

In the photograph, Venus looks cool:

a blue-eyed fishbowl of oceans

scarfed with diaphanous lace.

But looks can deceive.


She’s neverbeen out of the sun.

Thermal, swaddled in blankets

hundreds of layers deep,

she doesn’t know how to sweat.


Ten thousand fathoms of Earth’s sea

might equal the weight of her breath,

and her eyes are cataracts;

nothing of her can see.


She weeps an acidic hail,

driven by winds that shriek

with fright at their own wild speed,

and no-one comes


close to her.


From Fabric No 4 (November 2002)