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March 2022, no. 440


March 2022, no. 440

For M.F.


What is the use of a full moon
now we do not harvest by its light?

There is no one else standing here,
lifting their face to the star-studded sky.

Do you see the moon’s craters, its dark side?
It simply hangs there, brilliant white –


In the living room the children
and I mime spinning on an axis.

We tread an elliptical path around
the sun of the dying woman. Later,

she gifts me six pieces of gold.
Weight of a blessing from the living:

a Möbius bangle, blue sapphires in bezels.
Her name in Arabic, hanging from a chain.


Almásy said, Every night I cut out my heart,
but in the morning it was full again.

Black consumes the luminous orb
even as the girl learns how to spell

gibbous, waxing, waning. Do not swallow
the bright coin we place under your tongue.


A bolus of bread. It rises,
it fills with air, it is eaten.

Dust to flesh to dust to dust.
The frozen smiles of family

framed in silver. I draw the curtains.
Moonlight falls across the bedlinen.

Behind your lids, all will fade, and turn to ink.
Outside, a curlew cries. We see the glitter of a scythe.


The Almásy in my poem refers to Count Ladislaus de Almásy, the titular character in Michael Ondaatje’s novel, The English Patient (Bloomsbury, 1992), where the quote is also drawn from.

From the New Issue

Comment (1)

  • Many seemingly separate things brought together here. So simple to read I missed a lot the first and second times through.

    Posted by Paul Voermans
    01 March 2022

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