Long Night Moon

After a storm, the drapes of rain are drawn,

but a low ceiling of clouds still obscures

the fullness of the December moon,

making darker the longest night of the year,

with Mercury and Jupiter conjoined,

as stars fall behind the heavy barrier,

and Earth’s upper half leans backward until

it reaches the maximum tilt of winter solstice,

inviting winter in, but also promising

the turn of the wheel toward another spring.

A cold midwinter moon, a long night moon,

at the solstice ritually fired and feasted;

the decorative evergreen branches, cut, must die,

except as symbols, but the trees live on.

Next day, the sun rises late, but rises still,

and blazes bright until its early setting.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

Heat

When the heat arrives, around half-past July,

time shifts into a different dimension:

Not-a-morning-persons sip coffee on front steps

in their underwear at dawn; restless dogs drag

their lagging humans along the streets on midnight walks;

high noon drops the dead weight of silent stillness

over thirsty lawns toasted crisp and brown,

petunias and impatiens limp and yellow,

wilted over their funereal pots, a calico cat

melting in the meager shade of a sad azalea,

her breath her only motion. A dry wind rises,

swirling dust and rustling the crepe-myrtle branches,

but it brings no comfort, no relief from the sun god

relentlessly blessing his subjects.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper