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I walk home at August moonrise
past a bright window.
Inside the room an old woman sees the full moon and turns off the lamp.
Afterimage shines in my eye: pale face, snowy hair.
Moonlight streams over the dark house like cool milk.
When the lamp is out, is the woman still standing there alone? In memory, her upraised hand glows; in the house it is darker than shadow.
I stand on the sidewalk, moonstruck.
Metaphysics of an old lamp: the shade has less meaning than a soul's body.
Physics of a window: Glass is thicker than night air, thinner than wonder.
The question of whiteness bears looking into.
So does a window.
Sounds of a moonlight night are softer than rainwater.
Before responding to a face at the window, first ascertain whether it's looking out or looking in.
Also, whether it's the moon or someone else.
None of this, of course, explains the perfumes of August or the way the moon silvers the grass.
Turn around and look again- She is still there.
The first question has not been answered.
What was it?

Poem by Julie Hill Alger
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