a journal of modern society & culture

The Moon

The water. Only the flashed water. The water in the river.
          Nothing but the flowing water, not even
(shore) or (overhanging branches), just the water in
           & of the river. The water moves from Hiroshima
but stays, grayblue, browngreen, the infinite divisi-
          bilities of yellows & cherry reds all suffused
with shadow, the murmuring movement of the water.
          But since we need this, & since it is there & not there,
we allow the presence of moon in river—see
          how it stays as the water leaves Hiroshima but remains.
We remember what the moon was, before we walked on it.
          Some say a Christ can walk on water,
but this river’s water cannot bear the weight of such
          a divine personage, even the Buddha’s dilemma
is how not to drown in it as he sips moon from that water.

William Heyen is the author of 22 books of poetry, including Hiroshima Suite (2012), in which “The Moon” was originally published. Heyen’s book, Shoah Train, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2004, and his Crazy Horse in Stillness won the Small Press Book Award in 1997. His other poetry titles include Erika: Poems of the HolocaustPterodactyl Rose: Poems of Ecology, and Ribbons: The Gulf War. Heyen has also published six books of prose, and edited five anthologies of poetry, including September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond. His journals, among the most extensive in our literature, are being published by H_NGM_N BKS, with the second volume, Hannelore, recently released.