Ciara Shuttleworth

The Moon's Silence

The moon asks nothing more
than to be full once a month,
so I'll keep quiet, wait for morning

when I can share lies with the crow outside my window—
I didn't want to make a destructive exit,
didn't want to watch the hot shrapnel or feel
the demolition ball hit. The truth: what I want more of
is words off another's tongue.

Anyone can be angry enough to disappear. Even the moon
leaves us in dark one night a month.

I take a taxi and pretend I'm in a movie:
I'm in the backseat, the bass of the soundtrack
pulsing through my hands, shifting
my destination from nowhere, fast.

I tell the driver, just keep driving, drive
all night, windows down.

The moon slips in, sits beside me
like someone I could call a friend.

What I want is sunrise
tasting like kisses, grapefruit-red
and caught on an incoming tide….reckless
promises I intend to keep. I'm not ready
to face the dark alone.

And neither is the moon, the Hollywood starlet
who rarely shows her face before dinner,
but we know when she swoons from the sky
it's not suicide, just a plea we don't forget her.

—Or is it more? Maybe, like me,
the repetition makes her pray for earthquakes,
a shift in the axis, sunset a millisecond earlier,
later sunrise, an orbit,
a lull in cycle
we cannot bring ourselves
on our own
to end.

Independence Day

I'm concentrating on the rearview
like I'm going somewhere,
like I don't feel like touching up my life
with a tire iron, like I meant to break
every firecracker dish or glass
for the beauty of it only, and only for you.

It's the Fourth of July
and there's a girl on the corner,
nutra-sweet skinny with black hair and black pants.
The light's fading
but I know she's waiting, like me,
for it all to blow her away.

I don't have to look through your window
or lean against your doorframe to know
you're already asleep, teeth grinding in admiration
of a landing helicopter's fine rhythm—
if I jumped off this alley into your dreams, even if I emerged
from the helicopter, you'd sleep on.

Fourth of July and there's a blanket over a stop sign,
hanging askew,
a glowing ice sculpture in headlights.
Caution: Iceberg Ahead.

I'll still be sizzling when the sun rotates back
toward our sky, pulling you with it,
to stand. I'll hand you coffee and cross my legs like a prom queen.
I'll say You're going about this like a used car salesman,
telling me to hitch-hike blue skies.

I'll take your silence for response.
I'll unravel
the fuse and coax it into flame.
I'll say Boom.


Burning and Breaking For Love

My curtain blows the breeze of false-
summer against me as I look from my darkened
window, through the midnight slumber
of tree leaves, to the 100-watt window

of the house next door. I wonder
how to make sense of the news report
of a woman who died of pneumonia
from snorting her lover's ashes like cocaine

when dishes break too frequently
for sleep on my block. Maybe they crumble
away from each other because the nearest street
light flickers like a noir novel, or the ghost

they see me become through my drawn curtains
is all they are trying to drive away. For all
they know, I am a lonely Mrs. Haversham
wasting into the cobwebs of imagined memories,

or an unlikely poet, stealing their indignity
for the world to read as something
that could never happen to them, but does.
Or perhaps they do not notice me

at all, consumed instead by quarrelling
whether the word marriage came
from 14th Century France, or the Latin
maritare. But no etymological fallacy

can explain how similar the bits
of dish in vacuum dust will look to bone
fragments in the urn kept bedside
when the body leaves love to argue alone.