blackbirdonline journalSpring 2023  Vol. 21  No.3
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Blood Moon

Because she has been instructed
to do so (by whom is not so much the issue, for that would require
some pulling the line back, some
source beyond the scrolled screen—a bot named Roger,
perhaps, who has texted ostensibly
from Trumbull County’s corn mazes and MetroParks that if she acts now
she can save the lives of over 629,898
children just this year), she is circling the local library’s long block
for the forty-seventh time this morning.
Creamer eddying in the console. Brake lights. The Silverado in front of her tarp-lined,
already, for the weekend’s yield.
She swore she would not return to the small wooden room in the sky
where she shivered for hours, as a girl,
while her father dreamed an elk’s glistening ivories, leaned again
into the box blind. Was she ever so alone—
learning blood-trail, lung-heart, how caping meant instead a removal
of skin. “If they can’t get to the polls . . . ”
and she has nothing else to do today, her ten o’clock perm canceled,
flu season, and though she still rents
the chair she’s tired of the same doughy faces emerging from the dryer’s
hood. Tired of the weather-talk,
days full of it, how lonely the women turn her, all their small nothings.
Eighty-one Lawn & Leaf bags. Every two seconds
another heartbeat, Roger urges from a fortified call center along the Moskva,
and hers is slower, bradycardia,
something to do with the thyroid, she tires more easily now. Just this morning
scraping the windshield from its veil of frost
made her lean against the metal door. Her daughters inside breathing
clouds onto the glass. Vital things.
How they dissolved, then, into some insulated chamber she couldn’t reach.
The street clogs. When did she last
drive nowhere? Twelve toothy pumpkins caving in. Two shitting dogs.
She nearly gasped, looking up
from their carport, at the copper moon blocking her vision.
She tried to keep it steady
in the rearview’s snare all the way to drop-off. Roger, are you there?  

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