Now at the end of the natural day
the night won’t fall.
It hangs there
loosely gathered up around the moon.
The lights go on anyway
across a slice of the earth.
Curtains are drawn to distinguish
the light from the light.
The mothers and fathers yawn
to coax the children.
Until the mouths of the children open
in spasmodic song.
The folds of the night grow damp
from the moon’s heat; still, in its
concentration, it doesn’t drop.
The moon is wanting something, you can tell.
It suffers an unusual brightness,
an attack of primal modesty.
Eyes are sleeping open in the zones of
flesh. If there was doubting in a household
there is weeping there on this bright evening.
The heart of the moon yearns
far from her orbit.
Friends, this is unfinished business
between one god and another,
and no reflection on you.
Accept the gift of the missing day,
or, as you will call it in histories,
the long day. Sleep if you can.
The night will drop. The moon will grow thinner.
And it won’t work out for you
in this life either.
from his book Hanoi Rose
New Orleans Poetry Journal Press, 1989
Used by permission of the poet.