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The Tombstone of the Moon


PUBLISHED: June 17, 2015

The potter’s field of the sea, where so many 
have been buried bereft of names.
The tombstone of the moon marks where they lie. 

The gravedigging waters that buried the men 
who smelled of salt and the faint whiff
of whiskey from an empty flask,

bless them. Bless the real, the actual 
weight of bone and blood that bears us 
under, that believes in decency, in the cold 

coins that pin the eyelids down 
like paperweights that pin open 
books of drawings of birds. 

Thank God for what in us seeks 
the dark, the secret depths,
whatever it was Crane and Kees sought.

The bodies of those buried at sea
are counterweights: As they sink
they make the moon rise, 

a tombstone even more anonymous 
than those in country cemeteries 
that say, simply, Baby.

2 Comments

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Kate Peper's picture
Kate Peper · 3 years ago

Simply Fabulous. The precision, the images, the sadness...I wish I could have written this!

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Willow Fen's picture
Willow Fen · 2 years ago

Does it matter that the bodies of those drowned don't make the moon rise and would it be any consolation if it did?Otherwise...I like the poem.

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