Sunday, August 8, 2021
Photo of a side of a building where an advertisement for an art gallery that was pasted onto the building has been ripped off.
Photo by Anna Zalevskaya


There are places the girl has been
that she will not—cannot—retell.

The memories and nostalgia tangle

around and mix in her head.

They refuse to straighten out.
Many of them are assigned

to a particular person, or season.

So she tries to just forget them, too,

locking the sepia pictures away

in a tote atop the highest shelf.

Sometimes, when she can’t suppress
the thoughts—

flashes of incapacitated images—

she sits cross-legged on the warm concrete

beneath the big bright Moon.

She watches scenes on the backs of her

eyelids like an old projector:

things she’s said or done that are too

impossible to be real.

Too many multicolored pills cause
terrible trips. She wakes in the middle of them

startled by finding herself in a different

place, looking at her empty hand.

But sometimes the Moon offers a kind reprieve,
and not unlike sudden enlightenment,

she understands why the wolf howls at the moon. 

When she remembers those places,
they unearth real pain.

Some of them she refuses to acknowledge at all,

and for these she prays-—to any gods listening—

that they are not real.

Her gut tells her otherwise.

The Moon looks down at her

with an unjudging face. 

It is now she is most grateful
for a hot and cloudless night.

Like the wolves, there is an unnamed

and insatiable desire

that will always be out of reach.

Distant pieces of a concept never

fully formed lay on the tip

of her tongue,

but never surface.

So she looks at the moon she longs for,
its full face pulls at her,

not unlike a child tugging at her mother’s skirt.

And she cries.
Night after night, she howls at the Moon;

there is no other way.

She only wishes He would howl back.