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a path / on the waves, gilded invitation, the parchment moon

(From Poetry Foundation, Poetry, December 2022, and Audio Poem of the Day Podcast, 16 December 2022.)

Moon Ghazal

By Dorianne Laux

I can’t remember the first time I saw it, seems it was
always there, even with me in the womb, the moon.

It must have been night, above the ocean, making a path
on the waves, gilded invitation, the parchment moon.

Or the day moon, see-through-y wafer over desert, caught
in the arms of saguaro, thin-skinned, heart-stuck moon.

Blue as new milk, aquarium water, Mexican tile, blue
as cold-bitten fingertips, nailbeds’ quick-blue arcs, half-moons.

How I felt when I saw my first grown boy, round-eyed,
all sinew and muscle, his calves, his biceps, plump as moons.

Buttons, doorknobs, volleyballs, clocks, egg yolk, orange
slice, violet iris, our planet a pupil, mote in the eye of the moon.

The cell inside me splitting and splitting, worm of the fetus,
tadpole, the glazed orb of the eye, my belly taut as the moon.

The blood-streaked moon of her head pushing through, moons
of the faces above me, urging me, pulling, promising the moon.

There are earthquakes on the moon, water, not geologically dead,
still acting like a planet: upheaval, turmoil, shaking her head, the moon.

When I see the earth of you I still feel moonquakes, even now, after
so many moons my round breasts swoon, your fingertips, small moons.

— Dorianne Laux, Moon Ghazal
Poetry (December 2022)

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