Listen to Patricia Traxler reading this poem.
Can this be the same one that beckoned then,
dazzling, zaftig, generous, from its bright eternity?
I remember its pull on the skin, its promise—we felt it
then, called it love, or knowledge.
Tonight it looms, flat as a coin, unspent, curiously cold.
Luna. Glyphs of warning. Was it always so? How can I
know—time transfigures everything, even memory.
You. Did you think it could save us?
Summer night, a beach in Mexico, sweet rot of seaweed; I stole
from a tent, stood in the sand beneath the swollen moon;
vapor of sex rose from my skin in the chill, black air.
Between waves that lashed the land I heard my heart;
fierce, unfamiliar din of desire; knew I was changing
everything, knew the damage, yet I stayed.
Tonight a light spring rain soaks the garden past my window,
the earth all moonlit, astir with emerging crocus. I could go
out there now this minute, be in it once again, the clamor
and gnaw of growing things, stir of limbs in the wet raw air,
my skin taking it in, what remains.
But no, let it sleep, let the limbs, the longings. After a time one becomes accustomed to a mild, dreamless expanse, and it’s possible to settle there, inviolate, for as long as it takes. And there, the moon, aloof in its realm, see how it endures so well without us.