Denise Rogers

The Emperor’s Dreams

I. The Child Emperor of the Moon

I was a child who looked at the moon
and thought there were people there.

They were tiny as butterflies ,
and sparkled in the dark.

I was no emperor then, though I knew
someday, I would be one there,

for on earth I was an emissary, a sage,
a budding artist.

Moonlight always robes the emperor
in neomenium; fireflies are jewels
in his crown.

I was a child that loved crowns, people
often called me Selene.

Skirting pools of moonlight
and diving into its basins,
Callisto called me, and guided the way.

II. The Emperor of the Moon

The Emperor of the Moon
would rather regard fireflies
than contemplate the scrolls on his desk.

Reports, assignments, taxes, and troops,
he cannot sweep them away as he wants to.

He was once a child who studied satellites
through his uncle’s telescope. He gazed at seas,
distant shores, and bottomless craters.

In his dreams, he was an emissary visiting
remote lands named Amalthea, Europa, Callisto.

He longed to dine with friend and foe alike
at its apogee. But those days are over.
If he retires, he will write his book,
or become a monk who studies the stars.

Perhaps one day, he’ll dream
one more of being an emperor,
the child emperor of the moon.

 

denise-rogers-4

 

Denise Rogers is the director of the Writing Center and an English instructor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, teaching courses in composition, literature, and the humanities. Her poetry, book reviews, and essays have appeared in The Alaska Quarterly Review, Louisiana Literature, and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol. IV.

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