“Rules and Secrets” – Poetry by Judith Skillman

Violin Player to the Moon  - Hans Thoma
Violin Player to the Moon – Hans Thoma, 1897

Judith Skillman‘s poetry soothes and spooks us, often at the same time. We enjoy her work so much that we’ll be publishing one of her poems in each of our first two issues. Here’s “Rules and Secrets,” which will appear in our Spring 2014 Issue, now on sale for just $3.

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THE MOON RISES FULL OVER,
constructs its premise of light,
followers, hangers-on, into August.
Glints in a tree, its hunger for clothes
left from the first two who fled.

Moon-sultan. Wicker baskets fixed
just so inside the house, where sleepers lie.
This gift of reflection—how long the breath
of lemon balm, cut, exhales & inhales
through an open window.

What was fresh is sullied.
A man and a woman discuss philosophy
in a bedroom, in fluorescence.
Insinuations.  Institutions.  How many days
left in the domain?

The moon continues south over sleepers.
River harbor colors of stones.
This month passes like a dream into the season
of gathering.  The lemon will rise like the sun,
the schools will fill.

Moon of corn, of don’t-tell.
Perfection-moon, rimmed, haloed, dogged.
Moon of not playing the violin with a newly-haired bow.
Of never being good enough to live in the body
that continues to die.

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JudithSkillmanJUDITH SKILLMAN is the author of fifteen books of poetry. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Iowa Review, Northwest Review, Midwest Quarterly Review, Southern Review, and Prairie Schooner. Visit her website at JudithSkillman.com

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