Size / / /

. . . I have it right here
under my arm,
wrapped in a notebook
leaking light,
and am coming toward you
with a poem it helped me write . . .

"Taking Back the Moon"—Duane Ackerson

Now that I have it,

what will I do with it?

Will anyone want it back,

or even notice it's missing?

It was just one little moon among many,

the one that shines

for lunatics, lovers, and poets,

the almost-outdated Shakespearian moon,

an anachronism about to be remaindered

before I recalled it.

I left all the other moons in place:

the inventor's moon, constantly reinventing itself,

the actor's moon, out to steal the inventor's masks,

the saint's moon, pale and sometimes drawn

like a child's artwork,

the sorceror's moon gone out for a spell,

the realtor's moon awaiting developments,

the scientist's moon throwing the light of discovery

over half the earth and peeking around

to see what's in back of all the dark.

The list is endless, Horatio:

who knows how many more moons circle the planet?

More than ever circled Jupiter,

each with its own array of satellites on earth.

Music lifts into the night,

assembles itself into a moon—

possibly THE MOON,

maybe a false one,

foxfire designed to lead us

deeper into the swamp

the wrong words

followed by the wrong deeds

have provided us.

Duane Ackerson's poetry has appeared in Rolling Stone, Yankee, Prairie Schooner, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Cloudbank, alba, Starline, Dreams & Nightmares, and several hundred other places. He has won two Rhysling awards and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Salem, Oregon. You can find more of his work in our archives.
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