Mercury Retrograde Theatre

by Sonya Taaffe

Radio is terrifyingly intimate.
       —Jean Cocteau, The Art of Cinema

Tune in for the shadow show—
tonight, Hermes is talking
the ghosts of the dead and never-born
across the fine wire between the unseen and the impossible,
a black-backed mirror humming like air about to burn.
Tonight the glass reflects
the numbers repeating
from the shores of Acheron to the jagged stars of Mars,
the cable-codes of sacrifice, exchange.
How many shades come flocking to the voices
giving sound to the story their silence always tells?
The poet draws his constellations freehand,
eyes closed as coins
so as not to break the spell.


Sonya Taaffe's short stories and poems have appeared in such venues as Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, Here, We Cross: A Collection of Queer and Genderfluid Poetry from Stone Telling, People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, Last Drink Bird Head, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, and The Best of Not One of Us. Her work can be found in the collections Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books) and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press). She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master's degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object.

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