“Quartered Moon”


If she had loved me enough;
If I had loved her back;
If she had not told the truth;
If I had not listened;
If the night had been shorter;
If the day had come sooner;
Or the moon had not quartered over the western bank
Just when she began to speak,
And caught my attention, the way it hung there,
An omen, I think;

If that had not happened,
Or even if she’d held her tongue
For just one moment longer,
Enough time to work up some courage,
Some nerve, some steel,
So that I might hear the indelicate truth
Spoken so plainly—

But for want of a nail a kingdom was lost.

That was so long ago, so long ago
That I barely remember what was said.
Only the moon,
And the look that crossed her face,
And the way my heart cleaved in two, in three,
Sinking like a sad falling star
Into what might have been—
A point of illumination,
A comet tail of light,
An awakening…

That was not.


(Prague — August 9, 2001



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-spam (Required. Type the correct number in the box below) *