~ composed by Alexandra Silber, Finalist for The Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize, 2003; Glasgow, Scotland ~
The moon has kidnapped the kidney of my lover. (Not the heart or soul or anything one might expect under these circumstances). Replaced haphazardly with a chunk of moon-rock counterfeit stitched zigzagedly with a white-hot needle and silver fishing line never cut. He is still attached to her!
“This explains why the Moon always follows me home,” he whispers.
Oddly, he does not long for the kidney only for the Moon Herself, who is slowly sucking life from that gash in his side, like fruit from a goblin market.
His skin once lithe and radiant has gone white, developing irregular patches of pale, slippery clay. (Sometimes I have to laugh because he really does smell like cheese…)
Every night he digs his knees in to the shore and stares at the sky, praying with his eyes, the hollows are intense and vacant; grey as a turned-off television screen, growing hollower.
I know the Moon will forget him.
I know she has seduced before.
I know she has filled her bowels to the brim with the organs of a million soulless, searching men wandering the cosmos in vain.
I will destroy the Moon.
I will conquer Her.
I will plunge my victory flag into Her milky spleen and gut her
like a chilled coconut.
Then, I will go to her valley of viscerals
fish out the grimy, forgotten kidney,
and eat it.
To spite her.
Because the wrenching is unbearable.
Because I want to taste their love;
be as close as I can.
We are two
Unutterably empty women;
The moon and I.
16 January, 2005
Why must everything be so ephemeral? You can't ever hold on to a moment, you cannot bottle things for safekeeping. How I long for a bottle of April 27, 2001 when the romance has left my life. Or what about the bottles marked Essence of Interlochen or Singing with Michael or Long Talks with Dad...? One could go to the shelf, pop the cork and be met with a rush of euphoric sensation, or contentment, security, tenderness. All of these at the pop of a cork.
Equally, I suppose, one could be met with a rush of indifferent air: odorless, colorless and lacking the desired rush of feeling. It would be a gamble. That would only be fair. "Subject for a short story..." as Trigorin would asses.
When one is fortunate enough to be blessed with the gift of memory, one can collect and arrange those memories like jewels in an ornate memory box, if you will. Dust them off, polish them, see them anew, hold them to the light, reassess their value.
But it can have a vicious sting. You remember the ugly, the agonizing, they throb in your mind, they remind you of your inadequacies. Or the worst of all: you remember, they do not. They never do. Was it more important to you? Did it ever happen at all? A long mind comes at a high price; and costs, always costs.
05 January, 2005
Between the material world and the world of feeling there must be a border -on one side, the person grieves and the cells of the body grieve also; the molecules also, the atoms. Of this there are many proofs. On the other, the iron will of the earth goes on. The torture-broken femur continues to heal even in the last hour, perhaps beyond; the wool coat left behind does not mourn the loss of its master. And yet Cavafy wrote, "In me now everything is turned into feeling-furniture, streets." And Saba found in a bleating goat his own and all beings' sorrow, and this morning the voice of that long dead goat-which is only, after all, a few black-inked words-cries and cries in my ears. Rilke, too, believed the object longs to awaken in us. But I long for the calm acceptance of a bent-wood chair and envy the blue-green curve of a vase's shoulder, which holds whatever is placed within it-the living flower or the dead-with an equally tender balance, and knows no difference between them.
-- Jane Hirshfield
-- Jane Hirshfield