Moon and Stars


At night the brick townhouses of DC
lamplit by both the street and window
like roses bloom behind the snowy trees
rooted in heating vents above the metro.

Cocooned in companionship and books and art
I walk round Dupont with friends and speak of these
before the inevitable intimacies
that draw all speech like dying stars’ debris:

a love gone bad and months without a touch,
the loneliness of childhood. Before midnight’s struck
we’ve orbited magnetic galaxies we’ve survived.
And then I drive alone for thirty miles

away from the tongue’s careen and slide
across light years of mud and slush.
Outside, the Catoctin hills lie plump and hushed
as pillows on which the moonlight sleeps

and sheds against the bolted door the dream
that guides my key to the ordinary gleam
of emptiness, the lock that clicks, the door that opens wide.
My house inhales the moon and stars. I step inside.



Katherine Smith