POETRY:  For Years I’ve Been Prohibited From Mentioning the Moon

Khaled Mattawa

Posted Jul 6, 2003      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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So now the cedar scented moon, and moon-
glow encasing the sky in lavender velvet,
clouds splotched on a moon-radiant sky
and a sickle moon raking a field of violets
and the moon and sun in Joseph’s dream kneeling
and how years ago we could’ve been on the moon
watching the city from an airplane,
the stadium lights a diamond necklace
and she was there, a star singing,
but we wished to be back on earth to know
the measure of our loss, to see
a star singing, her voice drifting beyond
a necklace of light filling the city’s dim streets.
How many times, though for years I’ve been barred
from mentioning the moon, how many times
have I switched off the lights to gaze at the sky,
the moon full or receding, holding court,
how the breeze itself changed the light,
how I wanted to weep at the sight of the moon rising
from the hills of Indiana brightening a frozen stream.
How many times have I turned into this subdivision,
the pipes stacked like a tangle of pythons,
the fire hydrant, tall as a man, exposed, its lower pipes
to be buried under pavement and sick lawns.
I know this hour, the thick lament to come,
the thousands churned. I know this laughter
tearing at my lungs, because seeing the moon
is no consolation for what was to be lost.
But here’s what really happens: I see the moon
surrounded by the rubble of conquest
where there are only old stars and dead wolves,
and I am moved again by something I felt before,
shaken, but without an atom of pity in body,
filled with a transparency capable of bearing
the whole world, a void that takes in the moon
in the sky, the pipes and the evil they gush
and the poisoned water, and the lead-laced dirt.
Only the moon and whatever spins within me
as I worship all that remains, each speck of light,
every crooked ray beaming from my chest.