my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Moon

           By Dorianne Laux

The moon is backing away from us
an inch and a half each year. That means
if you're like me and were born
around fifty years ago the moon
was a full six feet closer to the earth.
What's a person supposed to do?
I feel the gray cloud of consternation
travel across my face. I begin thinking
about the moon-lit past, how if you go back
far enough you can imagine the breathtaking
hugeness of the moon, prehistoric
solar eclipses when the moon covered the sun
so completely there was no corona, only
a darkness we had no word for.
And future eclipses will look like this: the moon
a small black pupil in the eye of the sun.
But these are bald facts.
What bothers me most is that someday
the moon will spiral right out of orbit
and all land-based life will die.
The moon keeps the oceans from swallowing
the shores, keeps the electromagnetic fields
in check at the polar ends of the earth.
And please don't tell me
what I already know, that it won't happen
for a long time. I don't care. I'm afraid
of what will happen to the moon.
Forget us. We don't deserve the moon.
Maybe we once did but not now
after all we've done. These nights
I harbor a secret pity for the moon, rolling
around alone in space without
her milky planet, her only child, a mother
who's lost a child, a bad child,
a greedy child or maybe a grown boy
who's murdered and raped, a mother
can't help it, she loves that boy
anyway, and in spite of herself
she misses him, and if you sit beside her
on the padded hospital bench
outside the door to his room you can't not
take her hand, listen to her while she
weeps, telling you how sweet he was,
how blue his eyes, and you know she's only
romanticizing, that she's conveniently
forgotten the bruises and booze,
the stolen car, the day he ripped
the phones from the walls, and you want
to slap her back to sanity, remind her
of the truth: he was a leech, a fuckup,
a little shit, and you almost do
until she lifts her pale puffy face, her eyes
two craters and then you can't help it
either, you know love when you see it,
you can feel its lunar strength, its brutal pull

Laux makes an important point.  Consider
how much we receive that we don't deserve.


Jenn said...

My first thought is: Wow. At first reading, it seems to be two different poems. Upon further review, it seems to be about unconditional love, to me. I think it is so powerful - the imagery in the beginning of more abstract concepts and then it is so stark and harsh, as it reflects reality and hurt and pain.

marie-josé said...

P-le-e-e-ase, Laux! Don't rain on my freaking parade! And don't make the waves bigger than they are! This is such a grouchy, couterproductive poem. The moon still comes to my place at regular intervals, and she's still loved by most women on this planet. And by many men as well. And she's still beautiful, enjoyable, and efficient. Now, if the moon decides to leave ---and mind you, she does it in a kind, progressive manner-- she must have her reasons, and we must respect that. She's not the only moon around. Perhaps she contacted a replacement moon. There are other moons in this system, and thank Artemis (the goddess of the moon), there are other poetic and scientific minds as well, who do not let themselves drown into easy pessimism.

Jenn said...

I have reread it a couple times. Its like a kaleidoscope-I see something different each time. What mother imagines that her child is going to be a rapist, a criminal, an abusive person? So, if she had speculated that when the baby was born, people would have diagnosed her with an anxiety disorder. But, it happened. So, while worrying about the consequences of the moon pulling away from the earth may seem like unnecessary fretting, it could happen. I think the mother makes the choice not to spiral out of orbit, but to be there for her son, despite what he has done. It makes me think every person started as an innocent child.