To the Moon after the Blood Red Moon
by Amy Baskin
“You are a body of blood made beautiful.” —Anne Sexton
Still, I see you, cold and barren, tucked behind a cloud that even now
is leaving you alone. The fickle skies move quickly.
We jerk our heads, crane our necks at the next flushed body.
We ask, “Have you seen? Have you seen?” and then we gape
at something else fecund that gains the weight of our flighty attention.
Pursed and thinned, cratered and pocked, crust wrinkled,
your powdered surface blemished by footprints impressed upon you,
mounted and dismounted time and time again.
I feel your endless surge. From me, you pull your fast flood
of affection. Last month, you were a ripe, luminous, sexed cherry,
petals engorged, staining the earth with enthusiasm.
Tonight, drained thin and still, I see you, alone, sister—
mouth agape, silent scream in a vacuum, sullen
from the wiles of love the heat and cool of it.
As difficult as it is to write a successful villanelle, it’s equally difficult to write a poem about the moon that doesn’t seem trite or dated. “To the Moon after the Blood Red Moon” succeeds with compelling imagery and allusion to waning adoration and love gone cold, “From me, you pull your fast flood/ of affection…I see you, alone, sister—/…sullen/ from the wiles of love the heat and cool of it.” This powerful, evocative poem is my choice for second place.
Amy Baskin’s work is currently featured in Cirque, Bear Review, and VoiceCatcher. She is a 2019 Oregon Literary Arts Fellow and a 2018 and 2016 Kay Snow Poetry award recipient. When not writing, she matches international students at Lewis & Clark College with local residents to help them feel welcome and at home during their time in Oregon.