A Crown of Stars

Asteria checks her maps,
rays spiraling across her walls,
a labyrinth of portents. An Ariadne

of the cosmos, she winds her path
through oracular margins, an incantation
heavy on her tongue: like honey, like ash.

She navigates the star charts, a captain
roiling on a storm-swept sea, piecing together
broken fragments, lights dimmed,

flames smothered — a fractured life,
no path forward. Retracing her line,
Asteria feels a weight shift in the pit

of her being. As she tumbles, a crown of stars
falls from her head, arms cast wide,
bearing the impending darkness.

[Shelly Jones, PhD (she/her/hers) is a Professor of English at SUNY Delhi, where she teaches classes in mythology, folklore, and writing. Her speculative work has previously appeared in Podcastle, New MythsThe Future Fire, and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter @shellyjansen.]