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Moonbath


ISSUE:  Summer 1982
My mother tells the story
of the morning in Louisiana during the war
when she walked her brother’s old albino dog
to one of the deserted airfields.
He followed a scent down the runway
to the water, where the fringe of marsh sargasso
had collapsed, the rhubarb
lay sabotaged, and she used one other word—
moonbath.
There she says the dog dove down,
having look once around,
and that was that.

I pictured floral arrangements
at the funeral, my uncle’s funeral—
day lily, myrtle,
some lace, but there were only
pieces of a sea plane. One more war
and even the USO will end
their fetes but not go home.
Something ridiculous will carry on
like the hum of a samovar in a decorated gym.
We’ll be lonely all right then.
Like my mother under the moon, in the salty sedge,
calling for Hermes, for a bad dog.

Katherine Kane

NAVAJO RUG

At ten o’clock sharp
the Mormons stop singing, we hear
them slapping together their folding chairs,
rushing home to practice behind closed lids what
they’ll sing again tomorrow morning in saving daylight.

I throw more twigs into the beehive mouth of fire,
waltz around with the bottle of wine.
         for the next few hours
we play checkers, Pick-up-Sticks, retelling
our common stories,

until deep into the morning
those suns, blurred notes, yellow lozenges
  begin dancing goat-like
across the Navajo rug I bought years ago
up in Tuba City from an aguish medicine man,

preview of sleep, of other things coming
at us tomorrow clothed in daylight.

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