Reading “A Globe Is Just an Asterisk
and Every Home Should Have an Asterisk,”
by Aimee Nehukumatathil, reminds me,
when she climbs the attic’s pull-down stairs
to find her old globe and then measures
with her fingers the distance to Indian
across the Pacific Ocean, of my own child-
hood globe with John Glenn’s three orbits
marked by a thin red stripe on clear tape
from takeoff to splashdown in the same
vast green sea until the tape peeled off
leaving me feeling small and trouble-prone.
We thought we’d meet on the moon,
vacation on an asteroid, and travel
the globe in our own private jet-cars.
Instead, I am a poet, strictly terrestrial,
gazing at the untenable moon, impossibly
far, signifying everything I could not reach.
I feel like red tape, unstuck, spooling down.
*September 2010, remembering the 1960s.
The moon is full of dreamy light,
close enough to pluck from the thin night
and place, a pearl, on your earthly ear
as all the while I, too, reflect,
and still you shine bright in my dreams
through the clair de lune waters of sleep.
…Dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a
Silver bow new-bent
In heaven, shall behold the
Night of our solemnities.
The sky as inlaid azulejo
tile, cool and gleaming.
Our love was a memory
from an undiscovered world,
filaments of dreams
woven beneath the snow.
The perfect still surface
of twilight was rippled
by the ululated cries
of the crane pair calling
to each other in the glow
of the solitary moon.
There was but one patch
of bare ground, a tangle
of frozen angel hair
crunching underfoot, crushed
by the weight of the wait.
I imagined your touch in the air
just beyond the limit of my skin,
a wind too weary, unstirred.
Mistress Moon, I feel your million-mile stare
over my shoulder as I cross the black plain
of night, but my weak Earth-bound eyes only
see the dumb grin on your pock-marked face.
You are the shape and heft of light and its absence.
In your wax and wane we know death and birth
and the mighty tug of sea-tide and womb-blood.
Tell me what you see in your blue-white sight.
Mice scurrying across the wind-spun snow,
the red-eyed wolf, the faint glow of my heart,
more ash than ember? Can you penetrate
the caul of deceit that smothers me, beneath
to the field of tiny stars tattooed across my chest?
Have you missed your mother these four billion
years, or did you long ago turn your best side
away from her, toward the cold fires of eternity?
Another poem about the view from a different perspective, also featured at VerseWrights.
Poets on the Moon
Two poets met on the moon. They stood on the acute rim of ink-black shadow and paper-white silence. There was no birdsong, no river wild, just the ghosts of old dogs willed to the object of their howling. They looked up at the blue Earth, where they saw themselves not as far apart as they had imagined. Without shifting their gaze, they clasped hand, fingers interlaced, heads empty as craters, hearts full of stardust, thirsty, beneath a bright, watery planet.
These are notes for a strange poem that wants to be beautiful.
It starts, you will not be surprised to learn, with the full moon
behind broken backlit clouds, shining through in a pattern
that reminds me of the Crab Nebula, words you will now
Google Image Search, and in the process you will learn
it is made of stardust, remnants of a supernova explosion
whose light reached Japan in 1054 A.D., and now we are thinking
of your Samurai poem and wondering if stardust is made of fragments
of old poems that have echoed across space since the Big Bang.
What’s the difference between naked and nekkid? Nekkid, you say,
is fixin’ for trouble. What’s the difference between violin and fiddle?
Fiddle, I say, smells like beer. My hand is on your damp back
as we push through the crowd to the dance floor. The moon
is high above the clouds, a single pearl on the black velvet sky.
Three crows were on the road this morning, signifying what?