Mudlark Poster No. 4 (1997)

Molly Fisk

Hunter's Moon | Nauset

"I don't get much time to write," Molly Fisk writes, "but am sometimes ambushed by poems while driving, and have to pull over in a 7-11 parking lot and scrawl whatever is battering my brainpan on the back of a WestAmerica bank deposit envelope. I usually write my poems by hand with a black Paper Mate felt tip marker in Japanese Composition books, which sometimes say 'Let your taste lead you on to the world of maruman' on the cover, and then rework them and screw around with the line breaks on a Macintosh, losing all kinds of drafts to posterity by making changes in the same document. My office walls, where the Macintosh lives, are painted a very dark orange. Every couple of weeks I show the new poems to two San Francisco poets: Dan Bellm and Forrest Hamer--we've been working together for 4 years.

"'Hunter's Moon' was written for everyone who lives in the town of Stinson Beach, CA. My work has recently appeared in ZYZZYVA, and my full-length poetry manuscript, 'Listening to Winter,' has been a finalist for many of the major publication prizes, but at this writing is still wearing the lime green chiffon, matching pumps and crooked smile of a bridesmaid."

Molly Fisk has had poems, essays, and reviews in Manoa, Harvard Review, and Exquisite Corpse; San Francisco Chronicle, Denver Post, Dallas Morning News, and Cleveland Plain Dealer too. Her profile of Anne Lamott appeared in the September 1996 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. She has her own place, Salt Water Poetry, on the World Wide Web.


Hunter's Moon

Early December, dusk, and the sky
slips down the rungs of its blue ladder
into indigo. A late-quarter moon hangs
in the air above the ridge like a broken plate
and shines on us all, on the new deputy
almost asleep in his four-by-four,
lulled by the crackling song of the dispatcher,
on the bartender, slowly wiping a glass
and racking it, one eye checking the game.
It shines down on the fox's red and grey life,
as he stills, a shadow beside someone's gate,
listening to winter. Its pale gaze caresses
the lovers, curled together under a quilt,
dreaming alone, and shines on the scattered
ashes of terrible fires, on the owl's black flight,
on the whelks, on the murmuring kelp,
on the whale that washed up six weeks ago
at the base of the dunes, and it shines
on the backhoe that buried her.



When my grandmother said Act like a post,
I slid down to my knees and held completely still.
We watched the gull chicks gradually relax
and lift out of their camouflage in footprints
and tire tracks. As soon as they ran she'd be up
to throw her shadow over them, tripping a little
in the loose sand, and where they froze again
at the predator I fixed my eyes so I could direct her.
Rafts of ducks floated on the swell outside the breakers,
least terns screamed overhead, and the whole
colony of gulls dive-bombed us. She carried
the scar of one's bill along the length
of her part, which was why we wore hats.
I carry the high shriek of gulls into sleep
years later, sand still in everything, the blue glare
squinting my eyes while her voice says
Hold him gently, and she slips the silver band
around a yellow leg, her gnarled, meticulous hand
working the pliers to twist it shut and the heat
still rising and the surf banging.

Copyright © Mudlark 1997
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