There’s no telling what the night will bring
but the moon. That’s a no brainer.
A no brainer moon sitting there at its desk,
wishing it was outside
on the play ground with little Rebecca Steinberg,
her hair came down around her shoulders
like streamers on new year’s eve.
The night is going to be a very long night
and I am walking into it
with my sleeves rolled up,
my cap on tight,
all my worthwhileness stuffed into my back pocket
like a wallet full of transcendental credit.
The bullshit elegance of shadows
and the moon like the inside of a jawbreaker
after all the color has been licked off,
all that sweet dye and sugar,
layer by layer
until only the soul of the thing is left, the hard center
that will choke you to death
if you’re not careful. Which I wasn’t
the summer I turned fourteen.
Anton and I had cornered a younger kid
behind the 7-11 who was fat and walking with his little sister.
We screamed at him
say you’re fat! Say it, say you’re fat.
And he did, he said it, he cried and said it
and whatever strength he had
as an older brother, as someone
his sister looked up to from behind her big blue eyes,
caught fire between us
and went out like a match.
Well, I lived and he lived
and Anton lived for twelve more years
but we killed something,
we dug a hole and buried it,
and later that night I was walking past the Chevron gas station
on 92nd and Foster,
next to the 92nd Street Club Dancers,
and this guy came out swinging
that no one had lived in for years,
the gun pointing just above my head when it went off,
the moon exploding
and the wind picking up all the pieces
like a mother picking up all the dirty clothes
in a house full of children
who never listened to a word she said.