Colorado State University Center for Literary Publishing

Excerpt from Hungry Moon

Hungry Moon

Driving home I tell my son the moon is full
and he says no, hungry moon because he is two

and wants dinner and sees how the moon follows
our car across the bridge, bobbing unpoppable

above powerlines, the splintery tops of phone poles,
in a sky black and frictionless. Passing over it now,

a little lasso of gray cloud catches, then drifts,
no longer backlit, no longer an empty ring. A string.

If the moon is greedy, then what it wants is to collapse
in on itself—to fly shrinking, shrieking out of orbit.

But if it’s hungry, it can wait—footprints frozen
in lunar dust, some piles of human junk. If greed

is the desire to end hunger once and for all
then greed is a death-wich we eat until we’re gone.

Lab rats live longer if they never get enough.
Hunger brings long life, says the fortune cookie

broken open and left on the table. What we need
is a hunger that feeds on what it eats, the way I watch

my love rack the balls, chalk the cue, then set down
the blue cube like an empty glass, with a deliberate

thump. I’ll never stop. Years ago, I stood on the scale
at 88 pounds, calculating, bloodless, obsessed. I’ve hardly

mentioned it since. But even then I was too sane to starve,
learning to leave hungry only in order to return.

 

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Dog with a Stick of Dynamite

It’s like a cartoon, the way he runs around us wagging
his tail, part collie, part mystery, his face a double mask
of comedy and tragedy. Ears up in sharp points and he’s a wolf
with eyes like insects caught in amber—soulless, stalled
in history. This is the dog who turned from the trash can
on Christmas Eve, snarling and snapping like a tangle of wire
rolling off a spool, pinned my son to the kitchen floor
with the paws I had called dainty, and tore a two-inch flap
of skin from his skull, ripped his cheek as though it had split
from its own chubbiness, red stuffing spilling out.

This is the dog we rescued, fed, who could fold his ears
down into soft little envelopes, who let me shampoo
his matted fur in the yard with the hose in cold October—
grateful, sharp-ribbed and pale-tongued. Long gone,
he returns, tossing his head, the red stick in his mouth
spitting sparks. We yell Rhodes, Rhodes, drop it, go away,
and he thinks we are playing—the thing in his mouth,
clenched between his teeth, who to blame? He is the same—
the harm both him and not-him—Rhodes, we say,
Rhodes, spit it out, but he never can.

 

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