The Gnostics Were Right

William Doreski

Baring your chest to display tattoos

of the entire solar system

isn’t ladylike, but the artwork

is compelling. Saturn with its rings,

the great bulge of Jupiter, Mars streaked

with canals, Venus cloud-shrouded.

The sun nestled so comfortably

between your breasts it looks unlikely

ever to go nova and scorch us.

Pluto’s difficult to spot, tucked

under your right armpit, tiny

as a mole. But earth looms out of scale above your left nipple, above

your sturdy, underworked heart.

Instead of showing North and South

America, the globe has turned

to offer the broad back of Asia

and the sprinkle of islands below.

How exotic. How many people

would guess that so much universe

lies beneath your buttoned shirt,

when you bother to button it?

The colors are much more vivid

than the old-fashioned bruised-blue anchors

and liver colored hearts the sailors

of my childhood sported. Orange, pink,

chartreuse, forest, cerulean-

the planets dance like fireworks

as you ripple your powerful hide.

If you bear a child and breast-feed

it will grow up with a secret knowledge

of the cosmos no other child

will have. It will know that planets

align themselves in honor of 

the Divine Mother, know the Gnostics

were right, and know that the universe

is flesh and intimate enough

to incite your favorite kisses.