Barbara Kingsolver

(1955 / Annapolis, Maryland, United States)

Remember the Moon Survives

Poem by Barbara Kingsolver

Remember the moon survives,
draws herself out crescent-thin,
a curved woman. Untouchable,
she bends around the shadow
that pushes himself against her, and she

waits. Remember how you waited
when the nights bled their darkness out
like ink, to blacken the days beyond,
to blind morning's one eye.
This is how you learned to draw
your life out like the moon,
curled like a fetus around the

shadow. Curled in your bed,
the little hopeful flowers of your knees
pressed against the wall,
its mockery of paint,
always the little-girl colors
on the stones of the ordinary prison:
the house where you are someone's
daughter, sister, someone's flesh, someone's

blood. The Lamb and Mary
have left you to float in this darkness
like a soup bone. You watch
the cannibal feast from a hidden place
and pray to be rid of your offering.
The sun is all you wait for,
the light, guardian saint of all the children
who lie like death on the wake

of the household crime. You stop
your heart like a clock: these hours
are not your own. You hide
your life away, the lucky coin
tucked quickly in the shoe
from the burglar, when he

comes. Because he will, as sure
as shoes. This is the one
with all the keys to where you live,
the one you can't escape, and while
your heart is stopped, he takes things.
It will take you years

to learn: why you held back sleep
from the mouth that opened in the dark;
why you would not feed it with
the dreams you sealed up tight
in a cave of tears; why
the black widow still visits you,
squeezes her venom out in droplets,
stringing them like garnets
down your abdomen,
the terrifying jewelry of a woman
you wore inside, a child robbed

in the dark. Finally you know this.
You have sliced your numbness open
with the blades of your own eyes.
From your years of watching
you have grown the pupils of a cat, to see

in the dark. And these eyes are
your blessing. They will always know the poison
from the jewels that are both embedded
in your flesh.
They will always know the darkness
that is one of your names by now,
but not the one you answer to.
You are the one who knows, behind
the rising, falling tide
of shadow, the moon is always

whole. You take in silver
through your eyes, and hammer it
as taut as poems in steel
into the fine bright crescent of your life:
the sickle,
the fetus,
the surviving moon.


Comments about Remember the Moon Survives by Barbara Kingsolver

  • Diana (Australia) (11/19/2019 10:00:00 PM)

    Reading Flight Behaviour currently - very appropriate with all the bush fires raging - ominous, fearful results of global warming...and we are not in summer yet.. - where are our monarchs this year, have only seen a few... I'm missing the moon - and stars - smoke filled days and dark dark nights.. I will remember the Moon.. really love this poem..thanks Barbara for sharing...(Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, June 6, 2016



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