by Caitlin Leong
Art by Catherine Hwu
Issue: Solivagant (Winter 2018)

five billion years
i waited for someone to find me.
you named me planet x,
searched for coordinates beyond neptune.

when an 11-year-old girl pointed to the sky and
named me pluto,
glass skies and blood-red snow reminded you of the land of the dead,
air thick suffocation,
ghostly light striped
across craters and crevices.
it’s not always lonely here,
not after you gave me charon styx kerberos hydra and nix.

ninth planet.
strip me of my title
even with an orbit better than venus,
curves smoother than saturn’s,
more moons than mercury and mars–
all because of eris.

now you reduce me to a number,
six digits to describe buried
oceans and heart-shaped glaciers eris
could only hope for.
yet eris still has a name,
and you called me planet and took it away
before one orbit around the sun.

i may be slow,
and the universe always waiting,
but i keep
existing under
eris’ shadow–
never losing sight of the promise of tomorrow,
another orbit around the sun.

Purple, distorted clouds or asteroids partially obscure a scene of Pluto.