Chronoscope 126: The moon, the closest orbit

At the risk of being accused of a kind of literalism, this poem by John Walser which will appear in NDQ 85 has been banging around in my head all week. Check out more from volume 85 here. Subscribe. Submit.

Chronoscope 126: The moon, the closest orbit
By John Walser

The moon, the closest orbit
shines Mercury dime bright:
a highlight of clouds.

Soon it will pass
right behind us:
soon it will jaundice:
soon it will be
like it won’t be again
for eighteen years:
you, seventy-two,
me, sixty-seven.

Soon we will step outside
every fifteen minutes
to watch our shadow turn
the moon sepia and sanguine.

And we will listen:
the sweetgrass you planted:
the big pot that guards
the patio edge:
the way the heads feather
topheavy, soft
almost purple:
a sway of autumn weight:
like underwater
like caressing
like stream stone polish sand
like sifting rice
like breathed deep medicine:
the burden of cycles.


John Walser, an associate professor of English at Marian University-Wisconsin, holds a doctorate in English/Creative Writing from UW-Milwaukee.  His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Spillway, Mantis and the Normal School, as well as in the anthology New Poetry from the Midwest 2017.  A three-time semifinalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize, he is currently submitting three full-length manuscripts for publication.  His Edgewood Orchard Galleries has been a finalist for the Autumn House Press Poetry Prize (2016) as well as a semifinalist for both the Philip Levine Prize (2016 and 2017) and the Crab Orchard Series First Book Award (2017 and 2018).

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