The Harvest Moon Calls Us Again
Past halfway from equator to northern pole,
harvest moon drops so low it bounces across
the tops of the Douglas firs as it tries to lead
the crows in a song about the passing season.
The crows won’t sing, and we stay silent, too,
this season another surgery we did not want.
In the morning, anesthesia occluding the sun,
we send our tentative fingers out for bandage,
for incision ridge and furrow, for angry yellow-
red of tomatoes or betadine, for discoloration
of dismantling. We know something has been
removed. We feel the absence.
Appendix? Kidney? Belief in the arc of good
humor? We want it back, the summer corn,
the indolence of sun-soaked youth,
green sprouting, vigor of every appendage
and organ intact and ready.
Before we can
voice our plaintive suits or sound our laments,
impatient crows turn their backs on our loss,
dip their jet heads, and mount their wings.
They leave our ruined carcasses behind.
Going to the Palm Reader
My wife has been talking about seeing a palm reader
as a lark, she says, a goof, a game, kind of like checking
our horoscopes in the alternative weekly that’s filled
with dispensary ads—specials for doobie Tuesdays
and refer-a-friend and feel-good Fridays, one touting
their “ediblissables”—marijuana for the masses,
medicinal or recreational. She brings it up—
the palm reader—every time we pass the neon hand
in the window of the old house with the heavy curtains.
We are knocking on 70s door, our lives mostly
behind us and out of our hands, so I wonder what
she thinks this reader can discover in our creases
and callouses, what advice she (or he) can offer us.
Beware the icy steps? Shun the treacherous throw rugs
like disaster scattered beneath our feet? Steer clear
of busy streets, avoid left turns, and drive not
in twilight hours? No, that’s the advice
of the AARP Drive Safely course we had to take,
an earnest soporific that haunts me. Maybe
my wife imagines the chiromancer will find for her
a new man since I am clearly past my best-by date
and begin to resemble the carrot left too long
in the vegetable bin or the banana ready
for transubstantiation into bread or muffin.
When she thinks I have dozed off to my audio book,
she will take my hand in hers and trace the lines,
her fingertip a hound sniffing out a quarry’s path,
so slow, so gentle, circling the mounts on my palm
and nosing along the old ravines. I open
my eyes and look at her, at her hands first, then her face,
and she smiles and tells me I fell asleep. Maybe
she wants the palmist’s help divining the lost past,
recalling for her the sugar and salt of years gone.
Cecil Morris retired after 37 years of teaching high school English in Roseville, California, and now he tries writing himself what he spent so many years teaching others to understand and (he hopes) to enjoy. He has poems appearing or forthcoming in Ekphrastic Review, Hole in the Head Review, Rust + Moth, Sugar House Review, and other literary magazines.