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As Our Fingernails Grow, So Does the Moon Migrate from Earth

b: william bearhart

Do you remember that night beneath the apple tree?

How we kissed               and my teeth fell out

You laughed                   The tree and moon laughed, too

Our hearts are so lunar anyways, and, anyways

when we kissed, a wolf howled in the back of my throat

I was so embarrassed, the next day my tongue turned to copper

Every word I spoke became a different word for apple

A copper tongue can only mean one thing

I never woke up.

Yet, here we are

Two bodies beneath fruit-burdened tree

Each body a fruit-bearing tree

Hands curled into apples

Apples unfurled into copper antlers

Copper antlers into copper antlers

Two bucks in the brush

Coyotes in the gallery

And somewhere here is Endymion asleep beneath the pine trees

Narcissus down by the pond, drunk

Icarus across the field—face-down in a golden ocean of cornstalk

All beneath the surgical spotlight of the moon

Two bucks

One full of harvest, one full of sow

I’m so exhausted from the fight

I tried to disentangle our fire-lick-horns

But the coyotes got your body, stole all the fruit

It’s quiet now with only the sounds of leaves rustling

A tree branch snapping

An owl asking if it can have the first dance

An owl asking if it can have the last dance

Somewhere here the beasts are waiting

They are waiting, but I’m still breathing

 

But what good is breathing                when I’m tired of dying every few minutes  

         

tired of this crushed grey velvet funeral                   my brain has become

Does the moon suffer such planetary grief?

Does it suffer each night with deerskin feet?

I’m tired of gravity                               this folie à deux

this cinereal lunacy binding our antlers in a late-night waltz

I’m done with hospitals, heather white robes, this emptied&broken-down

planetarium my body has become

I wish you knew the asteroid ruts your touch wrecks me into

your touch blooms me into                  Even the apple I hold in my hand

can’t be thrown over a shoulder         can’t be grown into a man
 

b: william bearhart is a direct descendent of the St Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, a graduate from the Lo Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and currently works as a poker dealer in a small Wisconsin casino when not writing or editing. His work can be found in Boston Review, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, and Tupelo Quarterly among others.