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Kill Your Darlings: A Zodiac*

by Shari Zollinger
Illustrations by Holli Zollinger


March 21 to April 19


What if you stay a minute longer, 

turn toward hieroglyphic heat; translate 

the slow theater of fuel, oxygen, gas?

Quiet elongation of ember. 


April 20 to May 20


What if you stay too long?

Clay sculpture readying for foundry, 

threshold of the very long pose. 

Might you enact a risky yawn? 


May 21 to June 21


What if you say nothing, 

even when rumor gathers in your throat, 

or when the tornado under your tongue 

seeks ground? 


June 22 to July 22


What if you stop looking in the mirror?

Nanao Sakaki says, “to stay young, to save the world, break the mirror.”

Wetland-scattered water calls up a new image. 

The place where blue herons nest. 


July 23 to August 22


What if you walk through the city, 

not as yourself? Invisible, cloaked—disguised. 

Moustached and platinum-mohawked,

how will you survive the day? 



August 23 to September 23


What if you let the dust settle?

Skiff of very fine powder accumulates 

in the gutters of rare books. 

Resist the temptation to scatter.


September 24 to October 22


What if you risk asymmetry?

This will mean a new set of plans.

Let the pond ripple.

Look for chaos. 


October 23 to November 21


What if you let go of her hand? 

Kite-like, she’ll fly up, 

tiny bowties on string. Tether release.

Emptiness palms a beginning. 


November 22 to December 21


What if you came down 

from your fire outlook, from smoke 

and elevation? It’s time to walk 

off the mountain.



December 22 to January 19

What if you let Time 

fall from a cliff face? How will you 

measure your minutes going




January 20 to February 18


What if you consider 

coming in from the stars, just for a peek

at what the humans are doing?

This will be research. 


February 19 to March 20


What if you lie a little longer,

if only to consider the astonishing

dream motif conjured night

after night? 

*Note: I use the phrase “kill your darlings” loosely with the idea that with each Zodiac sign comes an expected listing of traits, keywords, and storylines. All expected things can afford to be challenged.

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