The moon is no longer the thing in the sky
by A. R. Zarif
that weeps. it isn’t creeping, making night fresh. it isn’t bright. the moon isn’t white. it isn’t half angel, half ice cream. isn’t the patron saint of ponds or no-longer-growing flowers or kissing. isn’t my cousin getting married today. it isn’t consonance or assonance or a bad habit, glare, or good praxis. not love or eternal loneliness or mac and cheese or watermelon or a lover’s heel. not coming or going. the moon isn’t an animal pinned in its sky, isn’t a flat eye roaring through its dusted lip. the moon isn’t syntax or the ambassador of our hatred. it isn’t the bleached nectarine we thought it was. it isn’t eating curried crab with krishan at new kingston. it isn’t zero shot, zero killed in chicago and isn’t as beautiful as illinois. it’s not rabelais or larry levis or jesus, jeffrey williams, or jo malone. it isn’t what keeps getting lost each time this happens. it isn’t subuxone or lunesta or the applause from the well-jeweled fingers at the park avenue armory. not a state of the soul nor a white ox pulling at its plow, falling to its knees. the moon is not a prison and not a floating hill of eggshells crying. it’s not a creation myth, where the sky is the corpse of an ancient giant, whose blood became the mountains and whose eyebrows nourished the grasses and whose black, empty mouth holds a single crescent tooth, the moon is not that either. it isn’t for our sins in taqueria lupita, it isn’t the geese or whatever the geese wait for or the white-tailed deer. the moon isn’t something you call by its first name, like a son. isn’t coming nearer if you call it, like a summer, which, when it comes, barely hurts.
A. R. Zarif is from Chicago. His work has been featured in BOAAT, Foundry, Frontier Poetry, The Wilds, NECK, and others. He is currently an MFA candidate at Brown University.