Downsizing the Solar System

A glorified asteroid clothed in ice
for Ptolemy’s celestial minuet
spins to sphere-music.
Harmony shatters, ellipses split.
Orbits collapse. At his apogee,
he breaks free from the system
that no longer accords him
the title of planet.

He turns and turns away, a less-than-world,
expelled from the planetary plutocracy,
too poor in light, too rich in minerals.
What does it matter if he’s solid rubies
too far out to sparkle?
With his cold grip, the dark lord
shatters ice to spinning splinters.

Necromancers, revise your spells.
Astrologers, rewrite your horoscopes.
Weird women, witches of the wide spaces,
ululate, for underworld’s lord,
tumbled in shame, no longer merits
the name of planet.

About Jan Steckel

Award-winning author Jan Steckel is a retired pediatrician and a bisexual and disability rights activist. Her first full-length poetry book, The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011) won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award. Her Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) won the Gertrude Press Fiction Chapbook Award. Her chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) won a Rainbow Award for Lesbian and Bisexual Poetry. Her writing has been widely published and has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband Hew Wolff. Find her books on Amazon, at, and in selected independent bookstores.

Leave a Reply