Thursday, October 16, 2014


Star Eater
By Barbara Christina Witmer

The stars are a cacophonous lot. Singing, dancing to the rhythm of their luminous twinkles. Their rotation, a slow gyration like a twist of a woman’s hip, a celestial-body response to the mating ritual of the heavens. They call to me, muffled through the walls of my room, intensified when I step outside in my silver sequined dress.

Star Shudder: Celestial dance revolution, encircling a mate, twirling, turning amongst the bursting pulsations of the other stars and galaxies light years away.

Music is the most complex of the human art forms. It is internalized to evoke emotion and then like a calculator, the body converts it and externalizes in the manner of dance.

Not all music is auditory.

AstroBeat: The one individual pulse of a celestial body, one among trillions; its own tiny voice in a symphony of visual majesty.

You can go to your clubs, sweat in the dark against the skin of other bodies, forgetting that under normal circumstances you would never get so close to a stranger. I, on the other hand, would like to drive out to an empty field where the tall grasses reach toward the universe, swaying in rhythm. I jump in with them, the sequins on my dress shining by the moonlight, echoing the twinkles of the stars. The grasses will brush against me like bodies in a dance club, the great arm of the Milky Way looming over us, and we will all lose ourselves.

Earthbound: A myth of gravity.

Listen. Tune your heart to AstroBeat, close your eyes, let your consciousness leap from the tethers of flesh and gravity. Pull yourself into space. Look down and view the earth for what she really is: beautiful, a blue and green crystalline goddess with sensual curves and crevices,

Freedom: Undefined. Or rather, infinite.

What is freedom? Well, what if I could tiptoe over Mars so as not to wake him, leapfrog over Neptune, and then boomerang back around Pluto? Maybe I’ll rewrite the ancient myths of Hades and everyone will see that he’s not so bad—just lonely and in need of a good swift kick in the right direction.

I’ll tame the storm in Jupiter’s eye, find the lash that’s got him all red and irritated, pull it out and give him some eye drops. Then I’ll ride on the rings of Saturn as if I’m sitting on a spinning record on a record player. I’ll shriek in delight, then fly off the edge and laugh as I am flung into space away from our glimmering sun. A body in motion tends to stay in motion. There is no friction in space. I can do back flips without worrying about hitting my head.

Then I’ll float on to Andromeda, check out some celestial stardust. Maybe I’ll take a bite out of the Horsehead Nebula. Each baby star will taste like a sugary glint on my tongue. And if I open my mouth, my breath will twinkle and you’ll see it from the telescopes before I swallow. In my belly, the baby stars will Baby Star Shudder in a limitless party. But don’t worry, there’s more cloud nebulas with more twinkling baby stars. I’ll leave you some and you can sell it to the finest restaurants to serve to the richest people who will now want to eat star meat instead of gold-flaked ice cream because it’s the “it” thing to do, and their breath will sparkle with the leftovers.

Then I’ll spend some time standing in the center of a galaxy, set it about my hips and use it as a hula hoop. Around and around it will go, its spiral arms flaring out around me like the edges of a skirt as I twirl.

I’ll tie an asteroid belt around my waist and bungee jump head first into a black hole to see what’s on the other side. I’ll wait for the hands of time to slow as the skin on my face is vacuumed into the abyss, my body evaporating and assembling into a parallel universe.

BackAstrowards: The inversion of AstroBeat on the other side of a wormhole, comprising dark matter and dark pulses in a universe of light.

I will only get a glimpse before I am again yanked back into our own universe. I will be glad to be home, and my heart will shudder with relief, and the stars will shudder in response. I’ll backstroke to a red giant and bask in the light of his burning waves of fire lapping and ebbing in no particular direction like a shoreless ocean.

Human Condition: Finity.

And when I grow tired, I’ll sit in the ladle of the Big Dipper, curled up, my feet propped up on the North Star, careful not to dislodge it lest I inadvertently throw off the sailors or the lost and weary campers in the dead of night, while I, in space, squint down to see what they’re up to. Squinting in part because I cannot see, but also because the heaviness of sleep will set in upon me. Then in my sleep, I might drip from the bottom of the dipper as it leaks onto Leo’s head. I’ll land in his fur, and I’ll hold on tight as he leaps and bounds, hunting for food amongst the creatures of the sky. And sometime in my dreams, the gentle hand of Virgo will pluck me from Leo’s mane and place me on the soft currents of the Northern Lights as they cascade over Greenland. Then I’ll land safely on an iceberg, just as it’s breaking away from a glacier, which will carry me home, but not before I awake to see the last remnants of Star Shudder fading into the light of dawn.

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I am a New Jersey native with a degree in English: Creative Writing from the University of Rochester. My work has been previously published in Eunoia Review, Whole Beast Rag, and Xenith. I can also be found on Twitter via @bwchristina.

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