THE MOON’S HIND LEGS
The moon’s hind legs are invisible.
Its bastard ear-boring cry is only fully heard by infants.
Bright as the starchy pharmacist’s coat, its objective
is to illuminate the puddled glass replacing
someone’s stolen vehicle,
the tuft of fur in the barbed wire.
Some nights it shivers as though it held
a penny under its tongue.
If the eyes were windows at all they would
be fogged 300 days a year.
I understand and I don’t:
the past is such an indelible part of now,
that there is no such thing as the edge’s gleam
without the cut,
that if nothing else, we endure ourselves.
You love in excess or pine to be loved,
glisten in the rain like a freshly cut stump.
When I saw the tattoo of a hummingbird on
that girl’s lonely wrist, I was convinced the skeleton
of that animal would be the topographical account
of an ancient city.
That I would want to live there someday,
bereft, yes, but somehow filled.
To walk beneath it is to ascertain the world’s
slow attrition, to know
there is always a self further buried in the self.
Figure ice raking a river bank.
Figure a semi jackknifed on the highway, its cargo
of guinea hens leaking—scripture of the moon.
And this I remember:
wheeling food to the cancer ward’s incandescent hall,
patients wading through
its powdery, almost sublime surface;
the scientific odor smuggled via elevator
into the lobby.
That the idea of something so pure is synonymous
with its breaking.
That you could set fire to yourself and the chill
would never leave.
What any of us would suffer for a little affection
In its countenance the cemetery trees stand
so still, and still they seem to sway.
This morning, the students climbing onto the bus,
one after the next, their faces rained-out
the garbage bags a street-side abacus
where a man was found after two nights
in the delirium of shallow woods behind his house,
unknown to himself
and white as the rescuer’s light.
—from Bill Rasmovicz’ Gross Ardor, 42 Miles Press (2013)