“moon-cleansed” – Poetry by Monica Lewis

The Truth About Comets – Dorothea Tanning, 1945

“moon-cleansed” is one of three cosmically beautiful & gut-punchingly powerful poems by Monica Lewis from our Winter 2018 issue.

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I TRY TO TELL MY BRAIN, you are an organ, luminous in your undulating layers, and like a comet, you are not a dirty snowball of space, you are made of dust (my trauma, my moments of star bones, love that combusted my life, on repeat, a recurring dream i continue to pirouette through), and dust, dirt can glitter if the light of the night hits it just right. like a comet, you have brought water to my most deserted, desiccated parts. i try to tell my brain, you are a little girl in her first chiffon, and when you spin, you set the earth aswirl in possibility: the softest wisconsin green grass of a dream, a field of lavender, spreading, and the blood-jet of sylvia or every poetess who preceded both your grace and your pain, or those slippers, ruby made into a dress, reminding us all that home is the heart we all seek. brain, often, you cry. often, you must find a moat to make certain no sailors make way through your lake of ache. brain, your skull is simply one big bone and bones break easily and often, brain, i do not always handle your structure, or even your waves of sea with all the love the ocean deserves, but here is my promise today, right now: i will hold you as my mother did when i pushed out her womb and was held at her breast. i will kiss your bloody body. i will be unafraid of the grime, the slimy guts. i try to tell my brain, you are an organ, but you are the life of all that makes me a life of my own, and i will claim you as my own. i will sob at the life of you now out of me and now all of you. still, i will do my best to protect you as a wolf does; come for its kin and it will kill. and the bones of the hunter, the mother will lick as clean and as pure as the moon.

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MONICA LEWIS lives in Brooklyn, New York and holds an MFA from Columbia University. Both her fiction and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, Apogee Journal’s Perigee, and The Margins, and her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Boiler Journal, PUBLIC POOL, Yes, Poetry, and (b)OINK, among others. She is a VONA/Voices alumna and a 2017 “Best of the Net” poetry nominee. Her full collection of poetry, Sexting the Dead, will be published in 2018 by Unknown Press. Follow her on Twitter at mclewis22. 

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