I knew Starfire when we were both kids.
She was bubbly, bright —
golden, green-eyed bright:
she sparkled at the sight of a daisy, a pony, a puppy.
If she didn’t have a bouquet of flowers,
clutched in hand,
then she would set out to find one,
make it of wildflowers picked in the sun,
or the rain; it didn’t matter.
Her smile was what mattered,
was it’s own sun, whatever the weather.
She liked to wear blue, said it set off her hair,
which was long and red and blazed like fire,
could blaze even in the dark.
I remember she’d wear crop tops and skirts,
and, it’s true,
they weren’t modest.
Some of the parents complained,
but nothing came of that because,
because it was the way she wore them.
We didn’t see her as a girl — not so much —
we saw her as her.
Her friends — we were all her friends —
loved her, and she loved all of us.
She loved everything.
She was love. She filled the world with joy.
Oh, true, cross her, hurt a friend,
and those green eyes could burn;
when she was angry — I laugh, remembering —
she would ball up her hands into tight fists,
shiver and rage against the injustice.
So, anyway, it wasn’t like she was all sugar and nice,
and she sometimes made mistakes,
like when she and Robin didn’t work out;
we all wished that had gone differently.
It didn’t matter, she was beautiful to be around.
She made us all feel beautiful to be around.
Like we were worth something.
It’s been a long time since Starfire and I were kids.
I saw her again the other day.
I’d heard she was on the cover of a magazine.
You know the kind.
But her skin shone gold in the sunlight,
and my breath caught.
Yet there was something wrong,
something off. Her hair still blazed,
but her eyes … Her eyes.
All but blank,
there was nothing beyond.
I was shocked;
though I’d been warned.
“It’s just sex,” she said. She tossed her hair.
“Love has nothing to do with it.”
Oh, what happened to her,
in all those years between now and then?