The Word Moon
[wpaudio url=”/audio/june11/cole.mp3″ text=”listen to this poem” dl=”0″]
Oh pinwheel heart; windmill heart; jigsaw heart; heart in a hurricane glass.
Listen closely: Even the days are confused. Yesterday was Sunday, & it is
Sunday again today. Birds are dying in Italy, Sweden, America; falling from the
sky, burnt out paper lanterns.
The alphabet is backwards so all of the dictionaries lay lazy on their shelves—
unable to tell her what the word moon really means. This unruly white compass
was only a fantasy after all—a mobile suspended from unseen strings.
She can only tell what color the sky is by the number of creases in your clothes &
how many times she writes that strange word moon. Yes, & under the sky’s
translucent tent there are only snow-banks, high-voltage lightning strikes, & a
thin fog cloud. (These flimsy things do not offer her much protection).
Death is never finished, & she tries in vain to appease the apparitions by building
staircases & spider webs in this sand desert, a real-life Escher etching, &
everything is tinted sepia and bathed in too much water.
She tries to know the future by building crystal balls out of balloons, sending
them into the ether; now unattended children; now tiny stars; now pinpricks of
She is left stoned, drowned, gutted by the dullest shrapnel. A blade of grass; a
flower stem; a butter knife, is as deadly as a Winchester rifle; a pistol; a sawed off
Then—pay attention—the cats make sounds like Christmas. Their collars jangle as
they pounce on hidden mice; they scratch on the screen door; they lick her nose
to wake her.