It just slipped off my wrist & glinted a last time
on its way down, sterling silver disc, cold new moon,
disappeared into the waters when I was nine,
at the beach. & for weeks after,
I could hear my father’s wristwatch ticking,
at night, big as the ocean1, as my breathing slowed. . .
That woman for instance has blue eyes
when the sky begins to glow like melted liquid sapphire tonight
& the pond burns off its heavy water at dusk.
That woman opens her blue eyes somewhere out there,
in the desert. Her gravity turns me even now2
nights I slip from her wrist out of bed,
then rain down her dry cheeks. Therefore, by the pond,
in the dark, I’m a moonflower. Her face is gone
but it speaks to me in extinct light.
I’m rooted like a waterlily into that disappearance when You,
Black Moon, slide down the tree limbs unseeable,
a majestic liquid being passed from tree to tree
through this portal, tethered to a body, invisible, black,
heavy, fire. Try to think with your skin she said.
Close your eyes, slide down the snapped tree limbs
but it’s too late. That’s how long it takes
to burn a single human heart at full fathom tonight,
as long as it takes the disappeared moonlight
to search the black corridor of a deer’s eye, then move on.
Black bodiless jewel, spill the liquid out of my eye in a single
whisper You leave behind in this flesh, ghostly female,
psychic whisper hollow as a god,
Speak darkly of shedding because, because—
when I remove my socks therefore, my jeans,
it’s like tearing off a bandage but slowly.
You cannot enter the sky by wading into this pond,
though the clouds hang here suspended
like cottonballs in formaldehyde.
In dark light, in liquid fire, it tells me,
You’re trapped in a body by the light of ten thousand sins.
You can’t simply disappear but this damaged self does wade away.
The entrance to the kingdom of heaven is everywhere
like the new moon but you can’t
just because you contain the sky, enter it, not down here,
not when salvation is saving up light you can’t,
not when the disappeared light bathes you in its cold,
redtail’s cry, swift, invisible, the kind
you only hear when you’re the prey, just before,
when the dark forest in this green eye
consists entirely of rain & the horizons
touch nothing but themselves & melt, & even her blue eye
simply vanishes like a coastal shelf, or a city,
into the sea, with its voices—when sound
shall escape these words, then it will happen.
I shall call my pupils Stargazer Lilies until then
because they open in the dark, they look back,
above me, into the shattered starlight, far back into the past.
They feed on this new dark light & after.
They navigate by the starchart gone out
in her drowned eye like a xerox of the ocean.
Speak to me in a distant breathing over the telephone.
Speak to me in the droning of disappeared honeybees,
Stargazer, dark light, desert honey, wild bloom,
blue eye, green eye, in a bedroom, until then:
all the vanished honeybees have surrendered
into an oceanic droning within us.
We shall inherit the Kingdom of Oblivion3.
The insects shall inherit the earth.
1Which is why in morning coat & black dress, the people are a xerox of the ocean when we breath in our sleep.
2The people evade their very own lives across skyfuls of liquid sapphire now with a woman’s form in it.
3The people leave a ravaged kingdom behind them: their parking lots are like deserts, or coastal shelves.
“New Moon” first appeared in Colorado Review (Environmental Issue, fall 2011).