The brightest star in the constellation Cancer is beta Cancri, or as it is commonly referred to, Al Tarf. 

The biggest bruise was just above my collar bone on the left side. 

         The second brightest star is Arkushanangarushashutu, the longest name of all stars in the galaxy.  It means, “the southeast star in the crab.”  It is sometimes referred to as Asellus Australis. 

         I couldn’t see his face. My eyes had begun to swell from the brick wall I was slammed into. I don’t remember that hurting. 

         The constellation is often referred to as the dark sign as its stars are so pale.

          For months I was silent.  My therapist told my mother I was in a walking coma. 

         The fourth sign of the zodiac is Cancer.  It represents the home. 

         My boyfriend didn’t believe that I was raped.  He told everyone I was a slut.   

         Cancers are ruled by the Moon.  The Moon, astrologers say, dictates the mood as well as impulsivity.  

         I ran away.  The bruises on my skin were gone but my insides were still swollen.  I went to the Sea of Cortez.

         The element associated with Cancer is water. 

         I lived on a beach called Los Cerritos outside of Todos Santos.  I slept in a tent.  I ate plums for breakfast, fish for lunch and rice with Italian dressing for dinner.  I read Henry Miller.  I married a Colombian man

         Cancers are not compatible with Capricorns.

         I left my husband in the middle of the night. I needed to go home.

         Karkinos, the giant crab who helped the serpent Hydra in the battle against Hercules, was crushed beneath Hercules foot.  However, as a reward for the strength, and willingness to fight, Karkinos was given a place amongst the stars.


 by Jacqueline Kirkpatrick


Jacqueline Kirkpatrick is currently an MFA in Creative Writing student at the College of Saint Rose in upstate New York.

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