In Sonoma where my brother lives the land is burning, and a cousin out in
Phoenix has stopped watering her lawn, but here in Pennsylvania we’ve got
floods on River Road. My friend says her students argue gender is mutable—
today you may be Donna, tomorrow Don. And next year maybe Donna once
again. This from a child in the front row who wears a football jersey and a red
lace micro skirt, who’s lately been told by an athlete-turned-celebrity that the
best thing about finally becoming a woman is being able to get her nails done.
My friend is newly-cautious about pronouns, her colleagues busy calming
claims of hate speech, and I’m back again in the seventies, a cash-strapped
secretary who can’t type, and the sisters with whom I am trying to raise my
consciousness on Tuesday nights are demanding we all refuse to cook. Order
pizza! (No matter that I love to cook, that cooking often was and is the best
part of my day.) I thought if I could only see the Blood Moon, something might
come clear. But the sky turned dense above our field, eclipse occurring without
us, as most eclipses do, while the lunar pull kept me sleepless until dawn.
Everywhere pitch and parch, the patchy dark. We rid ourselves of night and
lost the stars. At dawn, barely visible, the pale familiar moon, but still a Super
Moon and a Harvest Moon to boot, our garden overwhelmed with beets and
jalapeños. My friend says, You can’t have everything in this poem so maybe
skip the kids? And I go mmmm …but what about them insisting we say front
hole, not vagina, a word we’ve owned for barely a generation, what kind of
crap is that? And my friend says, Chill, these things have a tendency to work
themselves out … though she nods when I ask why someone’s got to lose for
someone else to win. My brother hunts wild boar with bow and arrow. He cures
the hams and makes posole twice as good as mine. When he first moved west
he said that rain could lure him out at any hour. He’d catch it on his tongue he
missed it so. If only he could have had children, passed along that gene. If only
he had listened when I begged him as a little boy not to run in the DDT fogs
our mother believed harmless. If there wasn’t too much smoke out in Sonoma,
he may have seen the bloody moon we missed—a Super Harvest trifecta moon
that won’t be back till 2033. Will the children by then have found themselves,
will the wildfires have ceased? Where is the wind that can blow us a little