by Julia Zygiel ’19
She is an inferno. Not from foam like her father tells her, but from choking smoke and ash. Impossibly alive, and yet immortal by nature. In dreams she is made from the void of a black hole, her armor fashioned from stardust, the moon her chariot. Stars dot the bridge of her nose, freckles that etch Aquarius and Sirius across her belly, chest, and face. But her reality is of earth, and it is the sun which bows to her instead. She lives among humans, finds her solace there. Fruitlessly, they look for answers in her.
She is difficult to love. The stubborn fire that fuels her determination too often scalds a lover. The wrath she turns upon her enemies too often catches her followers in its powerful riptide. Yet a lover so capricious is far more exciting than the patiently benevolent ruler of Abraham. So she is a goddess. She is destruction and growth and she does not care for singular, personal acts of prayer. She listens for the hum of trillions of consciousnesses sending themselves into the atmosphere and judges accordingly. She takes the mean value of a prayer and pockets it for later. She giggles when folks call her uncaring.
She sends fingers of lightning to tickle the goosebump hairs of forests and frowns at the wildfires of California. She drags cold fronts in by their reigns and revels in zero-degree nights of the North. In July, she stokes the heat of the sun with a touch of her palm to the hoods of the cars in the grocery mart parking lots. In the summertime of her smile thunder strikes, miles away, a warning. Her followers have learned from the static shocks of her touch to tread carefully in creating friction.
Still they worship. Her electricity does not only punish, but gives life and charge. They choose to focus on the positive. They long for the excitement of uncertainty, whether their darling will be kind or cruel on any given day. She notes this with amusement and absolves herself of the guilt she feels for the hurt she has bred in the ones who love her most. She calls them her ‘pets.’ They absorb the name, the stars of her countenance blinding their vision. She spins for them, a pretty plaything to be admired. A tornado too powerful to look away from. They are lucky for the chance to fly.