The moon rose so fast,
I felt the world tilt,
like my mother’s Shaker settle,
not pegged down. Up ended.
Her flow blue tea set
sliding onto the floor,
Tessie, the mare herself,
the color of a harvest moon,
her hindquarters as big,
as round as the harvest,
pulled stalks out of her hay bag,
Her chewing steady, alive.
So I walked outside and watched.
It was Joel’s moon, the one
that will turn to blood
with a blackened sun,
before “the great and dreadful” Lord’s day,
a living red, a living light, like the sunset
that found her way into the barn,
peeking through a crack in the door,
a door I hope to open,
for Tessie to walk through
when the wind blows hard from the east
and I need to shut the door by her stall,
shut out the wind,
let her eat her hay in peace
without being badgered by the wind
and the cold and the wet.
I walked outside and leaned on the fence
looking for Bruce. The living blood
pooled behind Mr. Peterson’s barns and trees.
The world tipped up, tipped up.
Bruce out walking the dogs when I do chores.
I looked for him, only saw porch lights
through the corn crib slats.
I called, “Bruce. Come look.”
I turned back to the moon,
not quite clear of the horizon.
Then Bruce and the dogs straining
at the end of their leads.
“Look to the west! Look to the west!”
I shouted a liturgy.
He looked toward the sunset into the darkness
and a few jets angling towards O’hare.
The moon popped off the horizon. Deformed.
–the scary lopsided moon
that feels ominous, always.
“It’s in the east,” he said.
And the ground slipped under my feet.
I was glad to be holding the fence.
My mind is gone
like the beloved dogs and cat buried
by the raspberry bushes,
and the other dogs sitting in cans in the closet.
With my mother and father and brother,
my memories are as far gone as the sun.
“Look to the west. Look to the west”
because that’s where the legends
say the dead have traveled
and the poets sing about the wild west wind,
whirling leaves and bitter loss.
Bruce and I joked about it later.