The moon tonight is the cup of a scar. I hate the moon. I hate—more—that scar. My love waited one day, then half the next. One cyst drained of fluid that looked, she said, like icing for a cake. Red- laced, she said, gold, tan, thick, rich. Kind of beautiful. One cyst was not a cyst. One —small one, hard, its edges jagged— like a snow ball. This one scared the house on- cologist into lab work: stat. Once the snow melts the birds will be back. Once many men were masked in front of their families. Were gunned down to shallow graves, together, there. Basra. Kaechon. East St. Louis, Illinois. Nowhere we don’t know about and nothing yet is done. This is what we watch while we wait. Twelve little cysts of snow in the red- bud. I watched each one, having counted, once more, and then one more time, as the news reports reported and the cold early northern wind shook out there the bare, still-budded small bush. Balls of crust shuddered in the bush. Birds will be back as though nothing has happened. I am here to report that nothing happened. Except the oncologist said, then, benign. But now I hate the moon. Hate the scar, though it shines on her breast like the moon at my lips.
"The Feast" first appeared in The Boston Review. Copyright © 2009 by David Baker. From Never-Ending Birds by David Baker (W. W. Norton, 2009). Appears with permission of the author.