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           “Located on the far side of the moon, the impact crater
            known as Mare Orientale is one of the most striking
            lunar features, its basin like a pupil, the concentric circles
            that surround it like shock waves frozen in time…”

                      -Quoted from a plaque at the Griffith Observatory Museum, Los Angeles, CA

Imagine that lens focused back upon us,
far side of the moon unfixed
from its sidereal glance to the stars—
an impact crater at its dead center:
the dead, constricted pupil; the shockwaves
of its impact: a flayed and tallow iris.  
To the living, this new moon is anything
but beautiful: silvered suzerain
narrowed to a point, bronchioled oracle
gibbous or full, its many phases
the phased cranking open of an eye.  
But, to the dead, it’s nothing new,
just another night of judgment casting
its broad search beam, frail figures
briefly illuminated between this world
and the last like smudges of graphite
on white squares of paper
draped in shawls on the shoulders
of highways, doorways warping
when they pass through, the moon’s orbit
a translucent curve of bone
the oceans and seas must follow.  
And in their chorus?  No augurs voice.  
And in their shoals?  No lisps of lyric—
windrows merely windrows swept
before the dunes, no speech innate
in the sweet white clams spitting up sand
from their burrows.  Moon:
an oculus, sabled and socketless.  
Mene: our keeper, cragged and craven.  
Maenon: the smeltered eye of God
turned thankful for eternity
away from us.

Copper Nickel, Fall 2010

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