The Ruricolist is now available in print.

The Moon Garden

I saw your costly garden, and I asked:
“What kind of garden is this? All gray and blank
Flowers of bleach and bone. The leaves are gray
Like tarnished coins. And first you paint the walls
The white of stinking fish? I know you well.
I know your taste is sound. So tell me why
You made a place like this?”

You said: “I know it’s ugly now, but wait.
Remember this, look like a lens, and keep
The shot; call it before. The after comes
Tonight, without the sun.”

You know the way it was beneath the moon:
And ever since I have profaned these eyes
With sunsets, paintings, women, jewels, and dreams.

That garden ran to weeds, its cuts ran red,
The red of roses. I tried to pluck them out
But nothing grows. The stems snap dry and brown.

I go to see you now, in the towered city
The crowded city, thick with breath and sweat.
For haze of smoke not even clouds are white.
The buildings here are gray as dirt with dirt.
I saw the moon reflected here, I saw
Its face in every puddle on the unlit street.
It brought no change. I thought I knew you well,
I thought I knew your taste. I’m begging you
Tell me what moon can touch this place, what night
Can make this city worth the light of day?
I hope you can.