Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Lost Moon

It was the Year of the Dragon,
and the moon was in Gemini
when I rowed towards the silver eye

resting on the rim of dark ocean,
water dripping from the oars
in the slow cadence of a dirge.

I was out of my depth in so many ways,
fall coming on hard and cold,
youth already spent on the known and old,

on fighting Grendel’s Mother
and her bitch-heavy pathological urge.
But then there was Mozart,

A Little Night Music, spin and jitterbug
to infuse this fallen man
with a few more stuttering steps,

a few more bittersweet miles.
Was it a kiss or the mind of God
or something else entirely

that I tried to reach on that long-ago night,
an ampersand that connected cradle to grave,
the modulation of a Tibetan Buddha’s wave?

It’s all the same, you know—
the kiss, the chant, the god, the now,
and yet I loved her song and flow.

I found a shiny nickel
minted in the Year of the Dragon
on a corner paving stone.

I polish it once a year with love
before holding it at arm’s length
against the glory of the stars.

And that is enough catharsis to bury the loss.
The moon is always in my pocket,
no longer a mariner’s albatross.

~William Hammett

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