The Atheist & the Astrologer

You tell me where in midheaven
Gemini is and I think of Copernicus,
      the formation
      of stardusted planets fitting
in his mind like pins in a lock.
You draw my birth chart,
      map the shape the cosmos took
      as it swirled over my first breath,
my mother’s beaded forehead
and her stinging pelvic bone.
      Sun in Aries, you say, moon
      in Libra, the game of jacks
the stars play each time
I leave something and go back
      searching for it: a lost diamond
      on a dark street. When I was baptized,
my father insisted the priest
lower me three times into holy water –
      the liquid muteness of hydrogen
      and oxygen, the organ’s wasp nest
breaking each time I surfaced.
You tell me that Venus and Neptune
      are conjuncting and I should stay on axis
      and follow my muse
and I think of how I leapt from the pool
before the whole congregation and no one knew
      if it was because I was full of the Lord
      or I couldn’t wait to leave him.
The constellation Libra hangs in space
above the moon-damp clouds.
      The starred horns of Aries extend
      from the vernal equinox into the bones
of my fingers, my heart cut
from muscle and adaptation,
      muscle’s oneness with blood.
      You tell me what gods I’m ruled by
and I think none, I think all,
I think of my mother’s DNA opening itself
      at the seams, the chaotic act
      of breath rising from little more
than this

Regina DiPerna's work has been published in Boston Review, Missouri Review, Passages North, Gulf Coast, Cincinnati Review, Redivider, and others. In 2014, she served as poet in residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Residency Foundation. Her chapbook 'A Map of Veins' is forthcoming from Upper Rubber Boot Press. Regina currently lives and works in New York City.