When the Moon Knows You're Wandering


     The shadow slant of your own body

somehow takes the ground in,

desperately wanting the surface of grass,

rock of the familiar in the moon’s eye:

light that blues your midnight form.

How many years have you been gone?

And who drove you away—not a man or a stone

seeming to mark some path you run towards,

but a wind that rose in the pink depth of your lung

like first breath, the exaltation in knowing


you are lost. Say your own name backwards to prove

you exist, an ancient tongue that steels the simple evening air on which

you rely like Pharoh building the tomb for years.


Know your old age already in youth as if you began

wrinkled and bent to the earth with old sorrows, cold hands.

You are not the field of wars that turn the earth over

and over like a thin coin, the girl suffering

ebola near a tree while her brother, coughing,

digs her grave. Go where you will.

The sun rises there. The water flows.

Women wake in the middle of the night

trying to remember their names, their faces.

The names of their fathers.

Keep this blue light near your heart,

the dull thunder of your want

tracing each step, each pace that seems like direction.

The moon knows you’re wandering,

even though the road thinks you’re home.



From When the Moon Knows You're Wandering