Harvest Moon 2020

I built a fire from the trimmings
of the honeysuckle which threatened
to devour the right corner of
my front yard, by the street,
almost chewing my neighbor’s 
mailbox. Most of the limbs were 
dead, and the live ones had a few
days to season, leaves still 
attached, ready to crackle the 
blaze to life. I started with the lined
notebook paper holding my notes from
yesterday’s class, now obsolete. I
don’t save notes from semester to
semester. When I lecture on topics as
dry as essay format and outlining and
works cited pages, the least I can do
is to bring the freshness of new life, thoughts
not yet ready for the woodpile, analogies and
strategies not yet prime for kindling. Then
I tore the lid flaps from a small cardboard
box, most recently the delivery vessel for
new pens, 0.7’s, Sharpies. I heard they glide
like Kristi Yamaguchi, so I opened the Amazon 
app on my smartphone, searched them, clicked 
“Buy Now,” and that was just Tuesday, and this 
is Thursday, and I have new pens. Then I 
opened and wadded a piece of junk mail
addressed to the previous occupant of 

the house I refer to as “mine,” or
“mine and the bank’s,” all the while 
knowing that this life is a dream
and everything I know of it will fade.
I stack the papers and lean the cardboard and
angle the leaved branches, and teepee the larger
pieces of wood that I offer to the Harvest
Moon.  Once the fire has a life of its own,
I toss a half-used bundle of white sage into
the hottest part, at least seven or eight smudges 
left in it, but I have two more bundles, 
and who says only the insides need cleansing,
besides it always sets off the smoke alarm, 
and it is a Harvest Moon after all, and there
should be an offering.  And the fire grows,
and the smoke seeps into the fabric of my
jacket, and from my seat, I can see the fire,
and just above it, the house, and just above
that, the moon.  And I contemplate the prayer
I wish to give to the neon sky, to the only 
thing I know that has seen all of it.  And 
I say these words to the closest part I can
see of God, the satellite of each soul and 
season, the grandmother moon of me and 
my mother and 
her mother and 
her mother,
heal my nation.” 

© 2020 Deborah E. Moore, All Rights Reserved

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