If tonight the moon should arrive like a lost guide
crossing the fields with a bitter lantern in her hand,
her irides blind, her dresses wild, lie down and listen to her
find you; lie down and listen to the body become
the promise of no other, the sleeper in the garden
in its own arms, the exile in its own autumnal house.
You have woken. But no one has woken. You are changed,
but the light of change is bitter, the changing
is the threshold into winter. Traveler, rememberer, sleeper,
tonight, as you slumber where the dead are, if the moon’s hands
should discover you through fire, lie down
and listen to her hold you, the moon who has been away
so long now, the lost moon with her silver lips
and whisper, her body half in winter,
half in wool. Look at her, look at her, that drifter.
And if no one, if nothing comes to know you, if no song
comes to prove it isn’t over, tell yourself, in the moon’s
arms, she is no one; tell yourself, as you lose
love, it is after, that you alone are the bearer
in that changed place, you alone who have woken, and have
opened, you alone who can so love
what you are now and the vanishing that carries it away.
Copyright @ 2014 by Joseph Fasano. Used with permission of the author.
“Though I've lived in various cities for years now, I'm originally from a small town in the Hudson River Valley. I wrote ‘Testimony’ after driving north from New York City and walking out into some fields where I'd spent nights as a child. I remember thinking, among other things, of Larry Levis' praise of the ‘winter stars,’ of Galway Kinnell's reunion with the ‘wild darkness,’ of Mark Strand's wish to ‘lie down under the small fire / of winter stars.’ So I did. And the stillness that I heard there became this poem. Of course we've all tried to return somewhere and found it impossible, but sometimes that very impossibility can become its own song.”