James Arlington Wright

(13 December 1927 – 25 March 1980 / Ohio)

Having Lost My Sons, I Confront the Wreckage of the Moon: Christmas, 1960


After dark
Near the South Dakota border,
The moon is out hunting, everywhere,
Delivering fire,
And walking down hallways
Of a diamond.

Behind a tree,
It ights on the ruins
Of a white city
Frost, frost.

Where are they gone
Who lived there?

Bundled away under wings
And dark faces.

I am sick
Of it, and I go on
Living, alone, alone,
Past the charred silos, past the hidden graves
Of Chippewas and Norwegians.

This cold winter
Moon spills the inhuman fire
Of jewels
Into my hands.

Dead riches, dead hands, the moon
Darkens,
And I am lost in the beautiful white ruins
Of America.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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