Epigram XII: 46

of Marcus Valerius Martialis, reimagined.

It’s barely another minute before the clock strikes midnight.

The mercury-in-a-tube showed 18°C as an estimate, quite a chilly evening for this region’s subtropical standards. I put on two layers of sweater and took a brisk walk around the block despite the late hour and somewhat strange air.

The obscure skies looked more and more familiar the longer I gaze at it. It’s as if I’m looking at a star atlas of my own mind — numerous bright dots scattered in an abstract manner. Several stayed in solitude, another clustered in constellations. Weaving lines and shapes into organized chaos, a gestalt of haphazard disarray.

You have been the moon for a while now, fair and distracting.

Like most of my thoughts, you’re both stubborn and complicated. I used to wish for you to be simple instead, but you’ve chosen to remain intricate.

Though I’m glad that my wish didn’t come true. Since if it did, you would’ve lost my wonder in a split second and I’d detach right away — like I often did with others.

Difficilis facilis iucundus acerbus es idem:

(Difficult and easy, pleasant and churlish, you are at the same time:

Like all beautiful things, you are desired by many.

You are lunar to me, but solar to the rest of the world. Planets revolve around you and I’m a planet too. Yet even with that knowledge, I still long for you to be my satellite — however ridiculous that might seem. (A star orbiting a planet? Yeah right.)

Unbeknownst to you, deep down I still held that wish. I’ve always stayed close, sketching smiles on your face with every few ways I possess at my disposal. You’re happy when you’re with me, and I, likewise. We cherish each other’s company. At least I think so.

Then I tried to gauge our distance by walking further and farther until we breach our perimeter, but I’ve never been completely sure. Are we within close proximity? I never got the answer from you so I continued measuring as we moved along.

Getting too close to the sun means burning to death, but I am not the least bit afraid. I believed that you would one day become the moon if I persisted in staying by your side.

For my biggest fear is not demise by your fiery solar prominence: it was seeing you finally agreeing to be the moon,

— in someone else’s orbit.

Nec possum tecum vivere —

I cannot live with you —

As I returned home and hopped back on my messy bed, I reminisced about the last time we went out together. I learned more about you in that one day compared to the months and years we’ve known each other before.

You were always nice to me for as long as I can remember, and I mirrored your cordial nature; albeit out of necessity. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Until something snapped and all of a sudden, it dawned on me: what we have right now is actually what I’ve been looking for all along.

Conversing with you is like reading Uranometria.

In every new page I’ve opened, there are always more fascinating new stars and constellations to be found.

For a quite long while, I used to think Polaris was bright enough for me. But time and time again, you proved me wrong — as one by one you showed me Regulus, then Fomalhaut, and Altair after that.

You already had me since long before, but it seemed that you won’t let me cease pursuit until I’ve seen the brightest of them all. And so you engaged me in a search for the most luminous stellar object of earth’s night sky.

It turns out that the one we’re looking for wasn’t actually a star, it’s two stars: the binary star of Sirius.

They possess the most serene glow I have ever seen;

and I found a similar radiance in your two eyes.

— nec sine te.

— and I cannot live without you.)

Image for post
Image for post
Photo: Aushaf Widisto, 2017

Saturn, 7 Julius
A.D. 2018

…or can I?


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I write about all things human.

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