In the Valleys of Venus

Deborah L. Davitt

In the Valleys of Venus

I fell in love with a shadow today,
where it stretched dim and faint before my feet
in the burning lands where Venus holds sway.

I might be as mad as Narcissus, fey,
to adore an image of myself so sweet;
I fell in love with a shadow today,

I see it reach up its arms to allay
my fears; it whispers that our souls will meet
in the burning lands where Venus holds sway

Beneath an opaque sky of molten gray,
we embrace, and I feel its slow heartbeat—
I fell in love with a shadow today.

It slides beneath my suit’s shielding array,
and bids me remove it, despite the heat
in the burning lands where Venus holds sway.

It swears to protect me from all decay,
and my heart’s too full for me to retreat.
I fell in love with a shadow today,
in the burning lands where Venus holds sway.

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Deborah L. Davitt was raised in Nevada, but currently lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and son. Her prize-winning poetry has appeared in over fifty journals, including F&SF and Asimov’s. For more about her work, including her poetry collections, The Gates of Never and Bounded by Eternity, please see www.edda-earth.com.
Author’s Backstory and Comments: When I began this poem, I knew that I wanted to write a villanelle, and a) I knew that I wanted to set it on Venus, and b) I already had my first line in mind. A villanelle requires something really strong for that repeated line, and something relatively easy to rhyme with, so I was satisfied with that. Going forward, I copied that repeated line forward into the places that it would occupy in the finished poem, and began to work around it. Repetition is the lock of a villanelle, and rhyme is the key that opens that lock. I also wanted striking imagery–a sky of molten lead, for example–and had to work that in around the rhyme as best I could.
 

Editor’s Notes and Image Credit: This vertically exaggerated perspective view of two volcanoes and a rift valley is another radar/altimetry reconstruction.

http://www.tricky.net.nz/Astronomy/Venus/Venus.html

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