David Wojahn


The Precincts of Moonlight - Poem by David Wojahn

Her first child belongs to the crows
and his days go circling the yellow-black fields

summers and into the falls. He scans
the horizon, mouth in a sticky O,

like a spirit caged to infinite space.
Winged One, she calls, Winged One, come here. Receding,

he pulls off his straw hat and waves, showing his tuft
of obsidian hair. He's not coming back just yet.

She remembers how crows are small black rivers
like stairways leading to rooms

that can't be rooms, only the hallways of space.
And then, how she watched him last night

in the ruined farmhouse across the road
where only a chimney and staircase are left

jutting up to the vacant precincts of moonlight.
He was stepping so lightly then,

who at sixteen forgets his own name, and shits himself
like the mindless, fear-mad prey of barn owls.

He belonged to the crows and stood
for hours on the stairway's precipice, weaving

a dance like crows in flight, until his brother,
with rope and fists, carried him struggling down.


Comments about The Precincts of Moonlight by David Wojahn

  • Pamela Sinicrope (9/15/2015 8:12:00 AM)


    This is an interesting yet disturbing poem. I gather the poem is about a sixteen year old boy who is mentally challenged in some way. The imagery of the crowd is an interesting choice. They are small black rivers, like stairways leading to rooms, that can't be rooms, only the hallways of space. Does that refer to his mental deficits? Why did you choose the crow? The last two lines of the poem are very foreboding and sad... About the brother bringing down his brother. Yes, a very disturbing read, with use of so what confusing yet thought provoking imagery. The title choice is also interesting.... The Precincts of Moonlight.... As in the boundaries of moonlight... Authors notes on this would be helpful. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 15, 2015



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