I am a moon viewer,
mostly nocturnal, occasionally rising early
with the day, needing no amber filter
to open my eyes wide to
its revisionist glow.
I invent stories about how the moon
came to be, why it alone circles high
seeking clear conversations
with the sun’s energy, composing
a reflective requiem.
I’m enchanted into love
with all who gaze upon the blue moon’s
grinning face, eclipsed by sentence
after sentence of nonsense
and grace notes.
I rise and fall with tides of emotion,
pushed and pulled along
the sea bottom, scraped over coral,
surviving on motion alone, weaving
letters into crescents of sand.
I ask the moon on Tuesdays
what it sees, viewer-to-moon,
moon-to-viewer—how it sees,
what it knows endlessly circling,
grasping through the dark for love.
I howl at its brilliance,
drink of the blood moon
and take nourishment
from the dark sky behind,
healing wounds inflicted by stars.
I’ve lived as a farmer, raising cows
and pigs and chickens, and the crops
to feed them: corn, oats, and alfalfa hay.
One needed to be a master mechanic (or know one)
to keep all the equipment operational.
One also had to be a master meteorologist
with particular insight into rain patterns
and humidity. Farmers live the weather,
drink it in, swallow its benefits,
suffer its consequences.
Farmers dither. They define the word.
Each miscalculation costs real dollars to remedy.
And the frustrating part is that the same amount
of work has to be done to remove spoiled hay
from fields to make way for the next crop.
Corn planted too early or late suffers from drowning
or drought, oats in head blow flat in a wind storm
to the delight of mice and woodchucks and deer.
When stalks aren’t strong enough to stand tall again
combines have no head for raising the downed.
That life and its artificial clockworks
take a toll on even the most seasoned
agriculturist. Most small farmers just give in
or their heirs refuse to follow.
I escaped to life in the city, a “real” job,
punching the time clock and living as though
the weather had nothing to do with me anymore.
Yes, let it rain. Let me hear it on the roof and outside
the car windows and divorce its powers.
It’s now a joy to watch the grass grow
and be cut by the kid next door.
Tomatoes and cukes plump overnight.
Flowers bloom and burst with colors
I’ve never had the time to visit before.
Evening light now brings the sweet close to the day.
It is not the tired light at the end of haymaking—
lasting long into the dewy, dusky evening.
And I am now neither tired of its haste
nor disappointed in its coming.
Forgive—I swear the word has feathers.
It flits about in my consciousness
like a hummingbird, buzzing in and out of
my mind as if it can’t quite reach
I know the word has meaning beyond
“Please accept my apology” and “I’m so sorry.”
I know it’s with grace that one accepts
and moves on, but damn, it takes serious
work to treat myself the same way.
Forgiveness gets buried under layers
of deep-seated memories too painful to forget,
I-don’t-want-to foot-stomping stubbornness,
an insidious need to be in control,
a catlike “who, me?” denial of ownership.
It’s crowded out by a lifetime of hurt,
solidly packed and inexplicable.
It’s squashed by the constant need to validate
my imperfections, to keep them nourished
but hidden within my esteemed self.
It’s harder to let go when I’ve got
such a tight grip on my creature anima,
the one bouncing around, never allowed
to float free, see the light of day
or polish its face to a luster.
I try to get a handle on forgiveness
by keeping it near, in my pocket, but it will
not stay put, flexing its wings impatiently,
wanting to hide amid the hustle and bustle
of truth and consequence.
Sometimes I have it in my palm to take
a closer look, sitting on its little bird feet.
We look at each other, eye-to-eye, briefly assessing
each other’s commitment—I always blink first
and the word forgive floats off again on its tiny wings.
© 2015 Diane M. Laboda
The Big Windows Review 6 (Fall 2015)