Have I told you about the California moon? Dawn comes on only resentfully, fully yellow, pushing the august moon offstage the way an old farmer shoos geese with his pitchfork. There are too many things to do, one cannot stop and look at the ice on the brown puddle, or listen to how the insects stir from their short hibernation in the patient grass. Dawn has huge fiery buckets to slop into the feed trough, a blazing motorcycle headlight pouring into the billion open eyes of chlorophyll nature covers her body with. We cover our bodies with a closetful of clothes, locking our senses away, letting our buttons and hands do all our feeling for us. Feet are like the moon, shoved absent-mindedly into socks, belted into shoes, away from distractions, and made to work like yoked oxen all day, their horns turned earthward, their steps undancing. All day the unnoticed moon pulls on us, palely flat in the blue, or rowing behind a cloud. Only at dusk, when the sun lifts from your neck like a burning chain unharnessed, the click and unclasp of an iron ring, do you lie down flat on the porch, letting a tendril of air under your collar–just a little, with your boots kicked off.
You wake up with a start. It is dark out, you think it is dark. Your back–having borne many burdens–creaks, or the planks creak, releasing the sour witch Sycorax from her prison pinned in a pine-knot among the floorboards. The moon, all day absent except for her gentle mother-tug, and who prefers rock darkness, has flown up over the hill and is white. White as a bridal gown held by its hanger as the bride runs away. But dawn remains on the moon’s back, laying his long chains of light, keeping his fiery eye on us, even in sleep. And the moon works to throw him off, to finalize the divorce, stop the beatings, and grows herself darker as the month passes, shaking her golden back like a retriever running to shore, the shot-gunned mallard in her gently cradling teeth, the water going everywhere as dreams.