Readings — From the May 2015 issue

Lunar Phrases

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From references to the moon in poems by Frank Stanford (1948–1978), who was best known for his epic poem The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You. Stanford’s selected poems, The Light the Dead See, was published in 1991 by University of Arkansas Press, and his collected poems, What About This, was published last month by Copper Canyon Press.

And the moon
Was a dead man floating down the river

the moon
was the blind eye of a fish
in the back of a cave

the moon was a salt lick
for her cattle of darkness

the moon
It is a piece of butcher’s ice

the moon full and flowing this side of Ozark
Smoldering like a burnt tick

Night and her moon
Like a widow with child

the moon like a bleeding toenail
the dancers will pass by

moon hung together with dark
like camp dogs in a ditch

The moon was swollen up
Like a mosquito’s belly.

the moon.
It was a clock with twelve numbers

the moon
Was a piece of stationery
In a drawer she would not open.

The moon is your old shirt.

And the moon was his white piano

And the moon was a body.
I don’t know who put coins over her eyes.

the moon
Flinching behind the trees.
It was a white flower
Afraid to be cut down from its dark stalk.

the moon, the old cow
That chewed its way out
Of the darkness in our fields.

the moon.
It was like the light blue handkerchief
She gave him to go with his dark suit

the moon wades a creek
Like an albino with a blade
Fixed to a stick.

Now the moon was a fifty-cent piece
It was a belly I wanted to cut open

the moon in the woods flashing
Like a girl running in her panties.

The moon went back into its night
Like a blue channel cat in a log.

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