Mother Venus

Every morning, you wait there,
hovering above the meadow,
above the stand of pines,
as I pull my robe around me,
shift from bare foot to foot
impatient for the dogs.

You wait on the mornings
when my mind swirls with lists
when I have found myself awake
at one, at three, at five,
ordering and reordering my tasks
You wait on days when I am empty,
when I have nothing to give,
when the pen will not stay in my grip,
when I cannot imagine lifting a dish,
when I struggle to think of the sentences
that must be said–later, later.

Maybe you are nothing but patience,
goddess of love and beauty,
hanging low in the morning sky.
Your year, foreshortened by 5 months,
but your day–exhausting,
nearly 9 months
from the sun rising in the West
to the next sunrise,
more than 4 Earth months
of toxic night–your desert surface
867 degrees, your atmospheric clouds
thick with sulphuric acid.
But every Earth day, mother star,
as your volcanoes erupt,
as you endure that long, hot night,
you are here to greet me,
usher me into this day–
no matter what awaits,
and on your surface,
some microorganism struggles to survive
sending phosphane gas into the universe–
desperate signal–you’re more than meets the eye.

The dogs return, and I whisper my goodbye to you,
looking for your faint shadows
as I feed these animals, put away the dishes,
scrub my face, and muster the smile
that will lure my children from their sleep.

Patricia Davis-Muffett

Patricia Davis-Muffett (she/her) holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota. She was a 2020 Julia Darling Poetry Prize finalist and received First Honorable Mention in the 2021 Joe Gouveia OuterMost Poetry Contest. Her work has appeared in Limestone, Coal City Review, Neologism, The Orchards, Red Eft, One Art, Pretty Owl Poetry, Loch Raven Review, and Amethyst Review, among others. She lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her husband and three children and makes her living in technology marketing.