Andrew Miller

The Bastard Children of the Moon

My mother loved the Man in the Moon.
Nights, his bony light shined down to her
From where he’d hung
Half-naked in the elms.
She would read to us quickly,
Snapping shut
The tall book she held half opened in her lap,
His name on her lips.
The words that rhymed are lost.

My mother loved the Man in the Moon.
Once we were put to bed,
Their talking through the walls changed to laughter,
Laughter changed to cries.
I went to spy.
I saw him waxing over her body.
I saw her sink beyond the dark side of his thighs.

My mother loved the Man in the Moon.
He hit her hard.
She fell to the earth.
The kitchen floor exploded with china.
The craters of his eyes were deep and red,
His unshaven cheeks, the basalt seas
She made me call “Tranquility.”

My mother loved the Man in the Moon.
His fist eclipsed the light a second time.
I woke up on the floor alone.

The night he left, I prayed he’d gone down forever.
I said so.
Her cracked hands raved in her red hair.
They leapt at her face.
She stood before the blackened window.
She pleaded with the elm.
I read to her
One tear,
One rhyme at a time.

My mother loved the Man in the Moon.
The nights he came back,
She let him tell all the stories:
How my brother waxed in his likeness,
My sister was his beloved star.
Kneeling at my bedside,
Naked as a stone,
He whispered: “I’m not your Daddy.”



Andrew Miller’s poems have appeared in The Massachussett’s Review, Spoon River Reivew, Ekphrastic Review, Laurel Review, Hunger Mountain, New Orleans Review, Ekphrasis Review, Rattle, Iron Horse and Fault Line. He has had poems appear in such anthologies as How Much Earth: An Anthology of Fresno Poets (2001) and The Way We Work: Contemporary Literature from the Workplace (2008). Finally, he is one of the co-editors of The Gazer Within, The Selected Prose of Larry Levis (2001) and the author of Poetry, Photography Ekphrasis: Lyrical Representations of Photography from the 19th Century to the Present (Liverpool University Press, 2015).