Tonight the carp are rising toward the moon
which itself is getting lost in all the snow
that ought to turn to rain before too long.
One big carp’s moored calmly near the shore,
its scales a kind of armor, pale orange mail
among the other strange debris the water’s
lifted, carried, pushed aside. Here’s another
abandoned milk container bobbing like
a lost balloon. Sometimes a moon of ice.
Sometimes a moon of cheese. Sometimes a rabbit.
Sometimes all it does is hang there without
any visible means of support. We used to
point at it, the first god we could feel
changing us, our women grew like it,
our men made plans to go there.
Jeff Oaks’ newest chapbook, Mistakes with Strangers, will be published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2013. His poem “Saint Wrench” was selected for Best New Poets 2012 by Matthew Dickman. A recipient of three Pennsylvania Council of the Arts fellowships, Jeff Oaks has published poems in a number of literary magazines, most recently in Prairie Schooner, Rhino, Field, Bloom, Court Green, Zocalo Public Square, and Poemeleon. His essays have appeared in At Length, My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them, and in Creative Nonfiction. He teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh.