The Wind and the Other Moon

Robert Gregory
A drift of torn cloud, daylight
that’s open and clear.  The grackles
wheeze and groan like old
retired gamblers as they wander
and gather.  A sleeping rhythm
in the day, and then sometimes
the wind comes through and makes 
them lift and fall, the crowds
of leaves that were motionless
and silent until now.
	        In the evening,
the notes of a bird, just one,
calling to a big slow-moving moon.
September evening going on 
and changing into deepest night.
The lights along the streets 
are motionless and steady,
the insects hiding in the grass
pursue their copulation song
relentlessly, a thin white moon
is glowing now in its silence
and a long, dismasted cloud is drifting
slowly by.  Soon the trees that make
these heavy stirring shapes, that sigh
as they gather up and soften
and transpose the dark will strip
themselves (like those old men
who leave their wives and families
to wander naked on the roads)
and then their brittle cast off
leaves will scratch and crawl
along the roads to give the only
sound of winter nights
and then the wind
and the other moon will have
come into their own

More by Robert Gregory

Things I Found and Left Where They Were

A slow summer morning:
new light through a veil of green leaves, young leaves
that vibrate and tremble. The shadows are blurred in this light—
shadows once ourselves, they say. Clouds and a girl in
green trousers, three birds on the blacktop confer, between two
buildings a vacant lot, a concrete slab for some old
vanished building surrounded by a few dry rags of grass.
A little local dove in shades of brown and black investigating,
looking for food. A buzzard floating high above the Marriott,
up above the former Happy Meals and a blue discarded shoe.
A splash of bird shit and a splash of old blue paint together
on a picnic table side by side, sea grape in blossom overhead,
long green spikes and tiny blossoms, two fat bees intrigued so
though a breeze from off the ocean pushes them away they
come back and back. Now a girl floats by on skates, a pretty,
haughty face, unwritten on. She flies her naked skin like a
pirate flag, a big tattoo across her shoulder blade. At first
it looked just like a gunshot wound (I saw them sometimes
in the barracks on some ordinary guy in a towel walking
toward the shower). Shrapnel makes all kinds of shapes:
sickle moons and stickmen, twigs and teeth. Bullets always
make a perfect circle (for entry anyway) and make the
same two colors: blue-black and a purple like raspberry sherbet.
Up ahead, a man in a dirty shirt, his eyes turned inward, his hair
and thoughts all scattered, just awake from sleeping in a field
someplace. At every house the dogs come at him roaring,
not just barking as they do to everyone who passes by
but raging and fierce, they really want to tear him open, him
or the things he thinks he’s talking to. I’m remembering
as I walk along a ways behind him the ladies in the office
talking about the new widow: Is she cleaning? Yes. The first one,
the questioner, nodded. “Right after Frederick died,” she said,
“I got down on my knees and scrubbed that kitchen, places
I had never ever cleaned. For that whole month I did nothing
but scrub that floor.” It gets dark here very slowly and gently.
Now the stores are closed and locked. In this window lies
a fat old cat asleep inside the small remaining shadow
underneath an old lost table from elsewhere with graceful
skinny curving legs. As I walk away along the place
with no windows, headlights pick my shadow up and
spread it out along the wall, fatten it and give it wings
for just a second. Then they’re gone and it’s gone too.