Lunar Eclipse

Nell Smith

Somewhere in Oklahoma,
pulled off of the highway on exit 88,
we stood in the gravel of scrubby darkness.
Heads full of ideas and inquisition
hurrying through the night
on our way East from the West.

Near to nothing the grasses swayed unseen
and we stopped to shiver
where cities couldn’t steal the sky
somewhere in Oklahoma
watching the moon turn to rust,
slivering away to nothing.

One of us knew the folklore—
A child born feet-first
ready to chase the heavens,
an insatiable wolf intent.
The Jugo-Slavs would have known this demon
devouring the gleam of the moon

They would have known
to pound and belt and pray
to drive it back to the night.
But we could rationalize our eyes—
rays, angles, shadows and light,
the relations of things we could not hold.

Feet fixed in the shadow of the sliver,
we howled to the stars to bring back the moon
not knowing what could not be saved.
From the right a light blazed passing,
and we stood in the darkness off exit 88,
watching the nothing grow.


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