Submit a Poem
Get Your Premium Membership
spacer

Late Moon

Written by: Philip Levine | Biography
 2 a.m. 
December, and still no mon 
rising from the river. 

My mother 
home from the beer garden 
stands before the open closet 

her hands still burning. 
She smooths the fur collar, 
the scarf, opens the gloves 

crumpled like letters. 
Nothing is lost 
she says to the darkness, nothing. 

The moon finally above the town, 
The breathless stacks, 
the coal clumps, 

the quiet cars 
whitened at last. 
Her small round hand whitens, 

the hand a stranger held 
and released 
while the Polish music wheezed. 

I'm drunk, she says, 
and knows she's not. In her chair 
undoing brassiere and garters 

she sighs 
and waits for the need 
to move. 

The moon descends 
in a spasm of silver 
tearing the screen door, 

the eyes of fire 
drown in the still river, 
and she's herself. 

The little jewels 
on cheek and chin 
darken and go out, 

and in darkness 
nothing falls 
staining her lap.



Comments