when i was younger, you taught me to lift my arms towards the moon
and spread my wings until i could hug all those celestial bodies that hung in the distance.
you told me that if i breathed hard enough, the sky would catch my sighs,
pin them up to its bright-blue wallpaper.
and you'd whisper your secrets-- all of your secrets--in my ears
every time the moon was full.
'promise you won't tell? pinky swear?' you said. and i swore i wouldn't whisper
to anyone but you.
the world we lived in was an empty one anyway, with shards of green glass
clinging to my skin.
they were a part of me, and a part of my blood; you said
humanity was destined for great things.
and you taught me to scrape moon-dust off the moon.
i called it moon-dust and you called it light,
and it wasn't 'til you'd died that i could tell the difference.
i called it beautiful, but you called it cruel.
you thought darkness was beautiful, but i didn't see why.
i'll admit i was afraid every time the moon disappeared, but you'd just pull the dust out of your pocket
and fling it so the stars would shine.
'they're safe,' you'd say. 'safer than we know. and the moon is dangerous, and tyrannous and full.
promise me you won't go there?'
so i promised.
and i guess i lied.
i was many years older when i stole the moon.
i'd grown distrustful and adventurous
and just utterly stupid.
the moon called me towards it, so how could i refuse?
it wasn't full then, and you weren't looking,
but when i drew it out it was a perfect sphere.
i stowed it away in a trunk underneath my bed,
because i knew you would never look there.
it fit so perfectly in my palm, like the heart of the heavens;
a silent tear that the sky swallowed before it could fall.
dust flaked on its surface, i held it to my heart,
and i drank it in because it was mine;
my lips and my tongue and my throat were on fire.
the light nearly blinded me, so i shut my eyes, but i could still hear the moon's silent songs
seep through me like an ecstasy long-forgotten.
i was hovering at the edge of drunkenness, and every time i laughed i would see
streams of silver spiraling out into the horizon.
i reached out to touch them and the light shone so bright
that i screamed out in terror but i
was too far gone.
and yet i hoped, and i prayed and i prayed and i prayed
that you wouldn't find out and hate me for what i'd done.
and i huddled up on the ground, with the moon on my breast;
i sniffled and i snuffled and i cried out
'why?' you asked, that little voice in my head. 'how could you give in to the light, thought beautiful it may be? Why did you forget all our faith and our trust?'
i didn't know, so i lay there, until the blackness took me home.
i lost my sight forever, the day i gave in.
the moon was too bright, and my desires bizarre.
you could say ignorance blinded me, maybe because it's cruel.
and the light is cruel; it travels straight and travels far,
and it fans out in so many directions you can't tell which images are real.
it's a weird form of physics, like a hot air-balloon that spins through uncharted terrain
and half the time the wind doesn't bother to tell you where you're going.
from reflection to refraction, to deflection and diffraction,
i spanned the world twelve times over and forgot which way was home.
i couldn't see the moon. i thought it couldn't hurt me.
the day it entered my body i was spiritually dead.
i couldn't see the darkness; all i saw was light.
and that's what it's like when you turn yourself blind.
i was still a fool then, and i knew it, too. i guess i just didn't
care to admit.
i'd left you behind, as i tromped my speckled path.
i could've gotten all the way to mercury and never have noticed.
what was there to notice in a world like this anyway?
so i stamped and i stomped and i walked on.
the horizon never grew closer.
'you're an idiot,' you'd shout from goodness knows where, 'and if you allow the darkness to take you you'll see as you should! sometimes it hides the bad, and the darkness keeps you strong. aren't light and desire one and the same?'
i guessed they might be, but i couldn't see how.
the day i finally came back was twenty years later; my lips were coagulated with blood and there was sand in my eyes.
you saw me in fetters and you grasped me by the hand.
you didn't need to ask if i was okay.
'how was that moon-dust?' you asked me instead.
i didn't have the strength to reply, so i shook my head.
'i can't help you anymore,' you whispered, but you helped me stand.
and my feet found their way
to where my troubles began:
the room with the trunk that lay under my bed.
and when i touched its cold metal surface, i could feel the moon
jolting in my chest from where i'd been carrying it
all around the world, after all this time.
and for the first time ever, i cried with my heart
instead of my eyes.
it was then that i saw the world for what it was:
a tree; an illusion; the life of a wayfarer;
and i saw myself as a traveler, shielding my eyes from the sun.
i could feel the sails whipping against my ribs
and the masts all shook and fell;
the tridents caught fire like tendrils of a sea-storm;
the moon pushed it way out of my heart
and you slid it back into its navy-blue, velvet-lined briefcase,
where it still sings to the world
and its bewitching light wanders free.