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Moon

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Last night, when the moon
slipped into my attic room
as an oblong of light,
I sensed she’d come to commiserate.

It was August. She traveled
with a small valise
of darkness, and the first few stars
returning to the northern sky,

and my room, it seemed,
had missed her. She pretended
an interest in the bookcase
while other objects

stirred, as in a rock pool,
with unexpected life:
strings of beads in their green bowl gleamed,
the paper-crowded desk;

the books, too, appeared inclined
to open and confess.
Being sure the moon
harbored some intention,

I waited; watched for an age
her cool gaze shift
first toward a flower sketch
pinned on the far wall

then glide down to recline
along the pinewood floor,
before I’d had enough. Moon,
I said, We’re both scarred now.

Are they quite beyond you,
the simple words of love? Say them.
You are not my mother;
with my mother, I waited unto death.

Source: Poetry (October 2012)

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This poem originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

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Moon

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  • Born in the west of Scotland, Kathleen Jamie studied philosophy at Edinburgh University. At 19 she won the prestigious Eric Gregory Award, which enabled her to explore the Himalayas, and at 20 she published her first poetry collection, Black Spiders (1982).

    Jamie resists being identified solely as a Scottish poet, a woman writer, or a nature poet. Instead, she aims for her poetry to “provide a sort of connective tissue,” as she notes in a 2005 interview. As writer Tess Taylor observed in the Boston Review, in Jamie’s poetry “the simile is a form of repair.” Influenced by Seamus Heaney, Elizabeth Bishop, John Clare, and Annie Dillard, Jamie writes musical poems that attend to the intersection of landscape, history, gender, and language. Jamie often engages Scots speech in her poetry, enjoying the “feel of it and the texture of it in the mouth,” as she explains in an interview with...

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