Gains & Losses
Full Moon

When the moon is full it shines on the mountain
like midday, and into his house. He can't sleep
in such a light, gets up, turns on country music,
stokes the fire, heats water for tea. He could almost
read by it, but he'd rather watch for whatever
might be happening down the hill and in the sky.
The late-night radio is playing the saddest songs
it can find. One of the dogs stretches and groans.
He can't think of a thing he'd change right now,
alone and drinking from a blue tin cup, warm
with tea and wakefulness. It's been a long haul
to get here, though. Early on he paid a tarot reader
to tell him the twenty years he's just been through.
He believed it even at the time, the bad breaks
that lay ahead, the nightmares that would last all day
or all year, love failing over and over, everything
just short of unbearable. When did it level off
and start getting better, how long has he been happy
just to sit like this in his own moonlit house?
A brisk bluegrass starts to play; clouds have hidden
a few of the stars. This isn't the last night he'll do this,
let go the cold blue cup, stand and have a swallow
of whiskey, wrap up in his sleeping bag and a striped
wool blanket, shut his eyes against the strong white light.

Copyright 2009,  Laura Cherry

Laura Cherry's chapbook, What We Planted, received the Philbrick Poetry Award in 2002.  She co-edited the anthology Poem, Revised (Marion Street Press).  Her poems have appeared in a number of journals, and in the anthologies Present Tense (Calyx Press), Vocabula Bound (Marion Street Press), and Letters to the World (Red Hen Press).  Laura received an MFA from the Warren Wilson College Program for Writers.

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