The moon’s keeping me awake tonight,
half-hidden in the sky behind clouds,
illuminating the yard in a silvery haze.
The shadows of craters upon its surface
resemble a woman screaming,
her gaping mouth frozen
in silent horror
as she retreats from view.
I start to wonder what could ail the moon—
is it that she knows she’s changing,
can feel each phase acutely as she wields control
by toying with the tide;
is she tired of being visible only at night,
a novelty when she appears in daylight hours;
does she dread those days she is not visible,
fearful of not being missed?
I am the only one that hears her
contemptuous wail tonight—
Can you believe these stars?
By the time their light reaches you, they’re dead.
The dead should not be able to touch us
with such forcefulness.
It’s too much.
In the morning the sun will rise, a brightness
that contradicts and mocks what came before—
you can’t see her imperfections, her edges,
her warmth is impersonal and deceitful, attacking
all senses—eyes squinted, skin burned
pores bursting forth beads of sweat,
tongues lapping along the roofs of dry mouths,
all while the days pass by and through you,
the memories collect like dusty clutter
in an abandoned room
that lovers and love will enter and leave.
The moon, with her vast knowledge of all this,
is the only company I seek tonight—my lover,
whose face I have studied meticulously as he slept,
lies alone inside.
He’ll be gone in the morning. So will the moon.
I bring another cigarette to my lips,
each puff strangles the fresh air as I exhale.
There is nothing pure here.
Anne Champion has a BA in Creative Writing and Behavioral Psychology from Western Michigan University and received her MFA in Poetry at Emerson College. She has work previously published in Minnetonka Review, PANK Magazine, The Aurorean, The Comstock Review, Poetry Quarterly, Line Zero, Thrush Poetry Journal and elsewhere. She was also a 2009 recipient of The Academy of American Poets Prize at Emerson College and was recently nominated for an Emerging Writer Grant from The St. Boltolph Foundation. She currently teaches writing and literature at Emerson College, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, and Pine Manor College in Boston, MA.