Rose Betit is a 2001 graduate of UMFK and writes to us from Central Maine where she is currently enjoys teaching middle school French. She spends time in her summers writing and sends us an excerpt from her recent collection of poetry entitled Moon Bathing: Romancing the Moon.
far and stretching
herself to hold
an impossible thing.
far and grasping for
hope that feels like water
in her hands, so fluid
and running fast away.
reaching hard for something
invisible that's floating up like smoke
until it's gone.
"oh!" she says in her sleep
while she's dreaming of herself,
a small child who shushes the winking moon out her window
and then climbs the wooden ladder to a jar of cookies.
the ladder comes crashing down
and she falls as far as her hopes were high
she falls as hard as her yearning was strong
Thud! on the floor, the jar is shattered
into a million pieces around her.
That's what she's reaching for,
HOPE, so like glass sometimes
with the way it shatters.
But you cannot keep her from reaching.
My mother sat on the cool stone porch and
gasped at the August moon
suspended low and huge over Georgia.
She declared its redness was a sure sign
That maybe Jesus would be coming back that night.
"and the moon will turn to blood"
she quoted the Bible.
In her frenzied anticipation,
she turned yellowed pages,
fanning my face with the perfume of aged paper
"before the great and glorious Day of the Lord comes!"
Mama carried on in her excitement,
Pressing her bony white finger hard on the page
to show me the proof in the Holy Word.
"See it there? Maybe this is the night!"
How could I have told her I was frightened
by the thought of a moon made of blood
with its crimson fluid dripping down on us
when she had so much hope in it?
I rested my head on her lap
while we remained in quiet stillness,
I, drifting off to sleep
while she smoothed back my hair
She, watching the moon,
hoping for a richer red, a second coming.
As the night turned darker,
my mother woke me with a heavy sigh.
My half awake eyes searched the sky.
"It?s over there." she said, pointing
"it's done gone orange-yellow.
I reckon I was mistaken
that it was a sign tonight."
Her soft hand guided me inside to bed
And I lay so that I could see her
through my bedroom doorway, leaning over the kitchen sink,
washing pans in deliberately quiet, slow repetitious motions
With her tired back bent like bowed wood
that could have easily broken.
I watched her and wished for another red moon
on the next night's certain arrival.