Dorianne Laux

Dog Moon

The old dog next door won’t stop barking
at the moon. My neighbor is keeping a log:
what time, how long, whether howling is involved.
I know she’s awake as I am, robe askew,
calling animal control, while I drink dark tea
and stare out my window at the Voodoo moon,
throwing beads of light into the arms
of the bare-chested trees. Who can blame him
when the moon is as big as a kitchen clock,
and ticking like a time bomb? The bright full moon
with its beryl core and striated face, its plasma umbra,
pouring borrowed light into every abyss on earth,
turning the rivers silver, plowing the mountains’
shadows across grasslands and deserts, towns
riddled with mineshafts, oil rigs and mills,
yellow tractors asleep in the untilled fields.
The what-were-they-like-moon staring down
on rain-pocked gravestones, worming its way
into gopher holes, setting barbed wire fences ablaze.
Who wouldn’t love this old tooth moon,
this toilet paper moon? This feral, flea-bitten moon
is that dog’s moon, too. Certain-of-nothing moon, bone
he can’t wait to sink his teeth into. Radio moon,
the white dial tuned to static. Panic moon,
pulling clouds like blankets over its baby face.
Moon a portrait hung from a nail
in the starred hallway of the past.
Full moon that won’t last.
I can hear that dog clawing at the fence.
Moon a manhole cover sunk in the boulevard
of night, monocle on a chain, well of light,
a frozen pond lifted and thrown like a discus
onto the sky. I scratch my skull, look down
into my stained empty cup. That dog
has one blind eye, the other one’s looking up.