I Caused Pluto’s Demotion

He may be King of the underworld,
but I am Queen
                                     of the darkness within
                                                that demands
              attention:      What will they do
                                                                  with what they learn?
I have 557 earth-years of patience
            around our sun, yet they balk how I can wait 9 hours
                                                                                             for her rays to blush my cheek –
this is why they’ve yet to find a way out       of their binaries            that bind them–
                                       the Sun                         the Moon
                                       the Center                    the Devotee
                                       the Masculine              the Feminine
                                                                –refusing to see the power
            of pulling tides and seasons
so they make up categories and rules
                                                         for what is beyond
                           their rover’s reach:
                                                                       ice is incompatible with life
                                                                       everything has to be this                          or that
                                                                                                   planet             or        not planet.
               Then I showed up                       in my mottled pink and grey
                                          a marvel floating                                     through their tiny window
I became their new discovery:
First, they call me Xena (some guy liked the show).
When they realized I was larger than their god-planet,
they called me Eris,
                          as if they could arrange a marriage
                                                                                between celestial beings,
                                                                                             as if they could assign my subservience.
I don’t care what they call me                           I delight
             in their discord and strife
                           as they define and redefine                  what we are
                                                                                                              as if Being is not enough.
              Ever think we already had names, my moon and I in our fields of ice?
                                                                    Like colonizers in the wild, wild west, they were quick
                           to claim us        label us             lawless,
                                               as if
                                                                                  there is a wrong way to orbit a sun.


Author’s Note: My poem, “I CausedPluto’s Demotion,” is part of a chapbook, Planets Within, which I hope will be published soon. The poems in this book were inspired by the Intergalactic Chakra Retreat led by Christy Lynn Hicks and Bekah Finch held on Zoom in October 2020, which I guess we would now consider early in the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Christy and Bekah took us on a journey through the chakras via corresponding planets. I combined my journal entries from the meditations with notes from the NASA.gov planet overview pages as I sought out a new project at my writer’s residency at Dorland Mountain Arts that November. I found the planets sort of dictating the poems, and the book became both an experiment in voice and a means for addressing the hubris of humanity we are witnessing during this global crisis. My writing is always a process of learning how to live better. These poems taught me how beautiful, precious, and tiny we are, and how only when we can liberate ourselves from our old stories can we begin to create the wild joy we crave. After I finished writing the poems for the seven chakra planets presented in the workshop, Earth and celestial bodies called out for their own poems. That is how I found Eris, and am grateful for her powerful poem that I had so much fun writing and now sharing.

Lisa Eve Cheby has poems and reviews in various journals, including The Rumpus, The Citron Review, Tidal Basin Review, and TAB, which nominated her poem for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. Additionally, her poems can be found in anthologies like Drawn to Marvel, The Burden of Light, Coiled Serpent, and Full: an anthology of moon poems. Lisa was a Writer in Residence at Sundress Academy for the Arts’ Firefly Farms and Dorland Mountain Arts. She has participated in the Las Dos Brujas, Tin House, and Marge Piercy writing workshops. Her chapbook, Love Lessons from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Dancing Girl Press) was featured in The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed Series. Her second chapbook will be released by Dancing Girl Press in Fall 2021.






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