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Clair de Lune

We started back from the coast
in the darkness
watching out for black ice
with evergreen branches on either side,
the sea wind pushing us
up from the beach
and five or six people coughing,
everyone trying to rest . . .

on a morning like this
the sky draws close,
you can see the faint stars,
a strand of blue fog half covering
the fulsome, promiscuous moon.
Everyone knows
she'll go home with anybody,
even you in your secondhand shirt
with aspirin in the front pocket,

your tongue asleep
in your mouth like a reef fish
tasting of smoke and wine,
its songs left behind on the ribbed sand
abandoned there by the ebb:
song of watching the crab boats at night,
song of watering the house plants.

She'll follow you home
to your skeletal orchard, your barn
with its vagrant wisps of hay,
though she surely won't let you fall asleep,
hours from sunrise over the driveway
shining into your kitchen.

They say she went home
with Stanley Kubrick in 1968,
posed naked under his arc lights,
lay on her back while the astronauts
gathered their fragments of feldspar,
planted their spindly flags.

She shines on the bus driver's
blond ponytail,
she's making big eyes at him,
his hands on the wheel
with their black leather cuffs,
shines on the sheet metal
covering the engine
and the road's thin shoulder
speckled with rock salt
hunched against the dawn.

Joseph Millar

River Styx

Number 90 / 2013

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