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July 1, 2012, vol 8, no 2

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Claire Everett

Luna 3

blue moon
in the holly tree…
cold beauty,
the sharp edge
of the wind's tongue

On a day like this, it's no surprise that I think of my grandmother. Three o' clock mid-winter and it's already twilight with the moon just past full, as clear as a clock-face. I can hear the chimes from the mantle and smell the beeswax on the dark oak high-backed chairs.

"Men on the moon?" She'd give a little cough as if the notion was a crumb of madeira cake, "What is the world coming to?"

Her final snub was masterful. She died in 1969, just weeks before the Apollo landing. And what would she think of me now? Her opinion of childbearing outside wedlock was well known.

"Bring back the Workhouse!" she'd say.

After all these years, I should know better.

lunar maria…
whether the dream finds me
or is mine to dream
I must learn to keep
one eye open

There's no atmosphere on the moon. Strange, the thoughts that come to you in uncomfortable situations. Ice-cold gel on my belly and the slow, purposeful gliding of the probe; the agony of silence with the light from the screen reflected on the sonographer's face. I remember it being like this. In a moment she'll smile and I'll get to see something. The first images beamed back from the dark side of the moon.

The scrape of her chair on the floor and something about needing to get a second opinion. Then a new voice crackles through the darkness: hello, how are you doing? The buggy continues its analysis of the terrain. Through the static, the disembodied voice. Plummeting towards earth my mind collides with jettisoned shards of information. Blind, deaf, incapable of independent movement. Eventually, the transmission ends. Three words are left ringing in my ears: incompatible with life.

the longest night
ebbing with the moon…
was there ever
a pill so bitter
to swallow?

what makes these ripples
if not a breeze?
this cold cradle
light enough
to rock

However much we fancy that we're not alone, tonight this bed might as well be the far reaches of the universe. In the last breaths of moonlight, I imagine how it would have felt to have my grandmother softly stroke my hair.