|Frances Ruhlen McConnel
|Old Mother Moon
Mother Moon, licking a white path through the waves,
is that the way home?
When will my dark prince come on his white yacht
to carry me away?
The voice of youth tells stories that make the old
ache in their breastbones,
a flutter of ache, no matter how lovely
Pleasures wear thin, wear us out, until flesh is a cloud of atoms
dispersing on the wind.
Beyond the sea, blackberries remember how
they grew once among thorns,
how they blossomed one season and the next
ran red and sticky,
then dried to dusty pebbles; how bears
fumbled among them
and honeybees hatched over and over.
This is the childhood
I carry in my head like an address flooded
with the rising of a dam,
the dam that made the power for the nuclear plant
where Fathers cells
caught the sickness mortality.
The aging children pray
for deliverance from the wreckage of the ancients
and for themselves, at the end,
a short slide down a chute into the path
I tell you this now, while the water-line still dips
and rises gently with the tide:
chute, prayer, berry, flesh, flutter, path,
Love greets us at our first wailed breath;
and follows us, we pray, beyond our last frail breath.
Toddlers kicking the floor, punching the very air,
have learned the power of the withheld breath.
The bottle spins, the roulette wheel goes round.
Sometimes its mint, sometimes garlic, on his tell-tale breath.
Smoke follows beauty, in campfires ring--your ember eyes,
singed throat, nailed by Vulcans soul-breath.
The sun exhales Buddha; the earth: ten kinds of clouds.
The trees, like deep lovers, inhale breath.
Tempest and ship, sun and ice-floe, breaker and shore.
Theres always a lover and a lovee--under the gales breath.
Passion will say anything: Take me. Let me go. Give me more.
Give me less. The hiss of needs blackmail breath.
Love makes us hyperventilate, see black some say like death.
I touch your closed eyes with my Braille breath.
On closet floors our shoes jumble, ever at odds.
Above, shirts swap sweet nothings under their percale breath.
The basements drowning, our stored things going, gone:
Slam that door against old pipes, big rains, yester-loves stale breath.
And, oh, the graveyards beckoning boughs, its bright grass,
the hint of chrysanthemums on ghosts pale breath.
Whom do I woo? Whom chide? Who loves me? Or not?
Daisies, you and God. Oh, Frankie, save your (bet or bail!) breath.