Notes on Stars, Nebulas, and Intersectionality


A Poem, By Zafira Demiri

Who do you like? Who do you love? Who do you want to be with – physically, emotionally, cosmically?
If I were a star, I would seem like all the rest from a distance. But I don’t even understand my own place in this constellation of mine. My home is an asterism in perpetuity because it will never find a true shape. Every eye beholds its own expectations, and I just want to be a glimmering light without an assigned perception.
Conjunctions come and go, shining bright for all to see, or hiding in the obscurity of a nebula. They, well they were beautiful to me, and our binary star grew so brightly we could be perceived as one. The rest stared at us so long we were pulled apart in dark adaptation. Two stars of our kind could not bond in such a way. I watched them grow farther and farther, until I could no longer see them.
We must hold the position we were born into, whether we like it or not. How lucky are the ones that prefer it, I envied them. That they could so easily collide with their opposite flame.
I am a nova, slowly shedding my skin, and the more I shed, the more I disappoint the others in my constellation. They’d rather I be a supernova, that once I reach the peak of my ever-growing brightness, I burst and leave no trace of myself. If I cannot blend into my position in the dark night, I should not be there at all.
I am light. I love light, and I fear those stars that pray I fade are a part of a dark nebula, however bright they may appear. They fear difference, in love, appearance, expression, beliefs; bodies straying off course, clashing into ones they were not meant to, you see. They are scared of the natural, and they perpetuate a fictitious “natural.” Of infinite possibilities, they prefer the one “common” answer.
There is no true answer, some stars were made to never touch another, and some are comets, passing multiple others in one lifetime, of all different hues.
Why are they scared? Why does their fear force others into obscurity, force others into tragic death?
For so long, perception ruled the galaxy. Even though perception is infinitely defined.
I am just a star, and I have loved many others. I have loved despite my position. I have loved light years from reality, from proximity.
How you define sexuality depends on the foundation you’ve built it on. The multitude of materials does not influence the structure of a building, it does not impact the stability of the concept.
Women loving women, men loving men, women loving women- loving men too. People loving people. People loving people, not wanting to “consummate” that love, because the love needn’t consummation to be love. People loving multiple ways at once, loving despite consequence because they were made to love that way. They cannot change the intersectional framework of their metaphysical composition.
Put into context, people lose their lives to fear of their sexual perception of themselves. They must “come out” of the sexuality assigned to them at birth, when their “gender” was assigned; when it is oxymoronic to push sexuality onto a child. Children dating the opposite sex from a young age because that’s expected of them. The minute a boy picks up a doll he’s “queer?” People are afraid of people being themselves- forcing them to suicide?
And love becomes political. People don’t just kill themselves; they lose their lives for love that strays from heteropatriarchal norms. Thousands of beautiful stars exploding into oblivion, gone without a trace because they so dared to be who they truly were. If you reject the notion that relationships are built upon astringent power, you are the one who gets hurt. You lose, because society has predetermined your loss, based on your innate “wrongness” on the matter. When in reality, there is no wrongness in being yourself- loving yourself and others despite the intersectional complexity of their being and your own.
I say, to hell with it all. You’re not made of sexual encounters, you encounter them, you may move on if you choose to. Your sex life is your business. Virginity, sexuality, sexual expression and its overlap with your spirituality, ethnicity, and gender expression- these are all ideas for you to define and reject yourself.

Zafira Demiri is a 19-year-old, English language and literature major from Freehold, who wrote this poem as an introduction to a class module.