To Pluto

by Sarah Huener

Winner, 2016 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition

It was only afterward
we found our figures

false, learned we had climbed
ghost ladders to accidental height.

We’d followed numbers
into night to scan

for matter, discovered
you, distant almost-planet—

but in the end you let
too many others in. As if

in the underworld after a war,
they haunt your silent

wandering corridors.
With your moon you orbit

nothing, center
not in matter but space,

links invisible, ice
infusing both, covering

your bodies
in their passage,

warmer regions dark
to our mechanical sight.

Faces inward, blind, tides locked
with your smaller twin

in synchronous rotation,
dancing, turning

together, leaning
out, each one crooking

with the other, point of connection
feeding the pull apart

as Charon sings
through the absence of air:

Come, pay your passage.
Kiss the round

and feel your eyes
darken over, feel the cold

thin disc rest on each pupil,
the worlds distilled

into the blackness
at the bottom of a well

SARAH HUENER is a writer and musician. She received her BA from UNC-Chapel Hill and her MFA from Boston University, after which she traveled in Croatia and Israel as a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow. Sarah’s recent work can or will be found in New Delta Review, The Greensboro Review, Crab Creek Review, Salamander, and in the North Carolina volume of The Southern Poetry Anthology (Texas Review Press, 2015). She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and was a finalist for the 2014 Pocataligo Poetry Contest. Sarah reviews poetry for the North Carolina Literary Review.