Lunar Eclipse1. First Contact

This night
I, too, cast a shadow on your orbit,
swaddling you
in the rock of my heartbeat.
This is a night
of soft lightning
and secret thunder
and there is nothing between us.

Your lips against my hair, you fill the hours,
drawing to yourself the winey glow
shed from my world of soft grass and molten core.
We share a column of dark rose light
pulled across the sky
by your slow arcing roll,
by my small turns
on the worn
balls of my feet.

2. Second Contact

Thirty miles away
my mother asks her nurse
to open blinds,
to lay clear passage
for the glistening off your cheeks
scrubbed to ruddy sheen.
For her, your face reflects in mist
off the dew by hospital parking lots
or lies masked in the mirrors of chrome.

There, through you, she and I
touch over distance, hold one another
over distance and time, lingering
in a last wash of bloodlight.
Behind me,
my father twists hard in his sleep,
battling the death that would take her.

3. Totality

Like a spirit
you do not show on film
yet I see you.
Moon mother, you
appear, disappear,
you return
shocking, and brilliant.
Earth mother
balances between us,
casts double skeins of shadow.
I can feel her weaving us,
tying my heart to your footprinted side.

Mother of blood, flesh,
sleeps quietly
as you circle her.
Even now
I am drawn to shadows, drawn to hospitals
by gravity, by magnetism.
There is a pull in the small
of my back,
small muscles, pulling
like pudgy fingers,
scattering planets until they find her.

Completely covered,
you are hidden from crickets,
from prowling cats fallen
silent until you emerge rekindled;
but we keep company.
You glide through the dark of my planet
spilling the stars in your wake.
You open the sky
and the Milky Way stipples out bands of black
that I draw to pale shadows, around me.
This is a night
where there is nothing between us,
where the sky bends down
and lifts my hands to my face.

I count sporadic meteors
to determine the age of my dreams.

First published in Aurora #23 (as Elissa L.A. Hamilton)
Copyright © 1983, Elissa Malcohn

Image Credit: jpstanley, some rights reserved

Elissa Malcohn edited Star*Line, journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, from 1986-88. In 2008 she was keynote speaker at the annual convention of the Florida State Poets Association and was on the faculty of the Florida Writers Association conference. More information may be found on her website, (web search: "Malcohn's World").