Tamara Madison

MOON BATHING


I.

My mother showed them to me: 
tiny moons blooming at the base 
of each fingernail. I would lie 
in bed then, counting my moons. 
This morning the remains 
of last night’s near full moon 
balance on a cluster of palms 
at the edge of the sky, its crown 
the same pale white as the moon 
at the base of my thumb.

II.

Last night the moon glowed 
waxy-white; it lit the path 
from the gate to my door 
and I thought: This is bathing; 
the full moon bathes the sky 
in milky light. Sometimes I want 
to slip outside naked and bathe 
in moonlight the way I did as a girl 
but now I have neighbors. 

III.

Mornings when I see the moon 
still in the sky after I’ve spent hours 
dreaming and forgetting, it’s like 
seeing my mother again, her head 
tilted fondly, her half smile asking 
Did you sleep well, honey? 
and I tell her Yes, Mother, I did.
       

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