for Louis Jenkins

My moon is always with me

I don’t remember exactly when it began
one night I just found it
hovering low behind my house
this big full moon
casting foreboding beams in every window

I went to bed thinking it just an aberration of theseason
but the next morning awoke
like a bone-white mirror
to that moon steadfast and bright in the window again

for a while it only loomed above my house
a silent intruder that would not enter
content to haunt me through every
private moment sleepless night morning coffee
that was strange but okay
I could ignore it 

then I began to find it everywhere
in the rearview mirror freeway traffic
lines of a coworkers’ spreadsheet
in the bridge of a song in airy words
with friends at bars in the bottoms
of bottles recast as the foreign exchange student
on a sitcom ruining every punchline
like a gadfly like a stalker like the boulder atop the hill
there is my moon again

in the eyes of a stranger on the street
and the marked man, me,
consumed by helpless agony

you’d think it wouldn’t be so bad
‘Its not doing anything,’ you’d say
but that makes it even more maddening
it’s like it’s waiting for something I don’t know what

I wake every morning full of hope
only to be leveled by the inevitable evident fact
that whether I find it from above my house
in a fresh egg or hidden in
a section of the New York Times having at all nothing to with astronomy there it is
my moon right fucking there.

I have tried everything;
ignorance extensive exercise
hobbies denial minor drug use
vacations on different latitudes planetological charting
praying it would just leave me be.

recently in desperation I have tried
talking with other people about their moons.   
(not easy)
many were jealous, thought they’d look better in light
‘you should really appreciate it,’ these people said
‘Its’s very special. If you don’t like it being around,
maybe there’s more of a root cause issue here’

others were more sympathetic.
they shared stories of their own lunar difficulties,
jazz standards stuck in heads for weeks on end
Little things they thought made it go away:
group swimming lessons, a new puppy,
humming the Food Emporium.

Many of the afflicted lived in constant fear these disturbances would return.
some didn’t even want to speak about it out loud.

I discovered no two moons are the same;
each is unique in its behaviors, problems, sense of humor
each has a shape, size, sheen.
So a few similar stories, but
really no situation quite like mine.

but one friend
did tell me something useful
calmly, emphatic, Im not sure I quite believe her,
she ‘got in conversation with her moon'
and apparently that made all the difference

the best place for it, she said,
was not some mountaintop or well or deep forest
like in the stories she had read but
the shallows of a crowded beach on a weekend or holiday
the kind where partiers lovers families gather
to roam boardwalks bask in day

she went out there waist deep there in the tide
the reflection rippling,
the horizon so close she could touch it
and there on even terms
apparently all the difference was made.

so amongst the strangers
there tomorrow
I plan to finally speak to this little circled haunt

unlike the sun
apparently you can face it
and still come out seeing


©2023 Niall Cunningham