So long as you kept your eye on it, watched it every night,
noting the slight changes in its appearance,
then the variations of its phases would seem natural,
like a flower, bursting from nubby bulb to brilliant bloom then wilting down to nothing.
But if you get distracted for a few days,
and then look for the orb in the midnight sky,
it won’t seem anything like it had been when you saw it last —
a slender winking crescent giving way to a gibbous carbuncle,
the midnight beacon that had bathed the earth now all but invisible,
what had been rising in brilliance now shrinking back into darkeness.
Remember how I laughed at you?
How I recalled my fourth-grade lessons on the moon’s orbit,
reminded you how the lunar phases were nothing more than the product
of a celestial equation?
The moon’s appearance was orderly and predictable, I told you.
No mystery or romance — just science.
I remember you smiling,
and pointing up at the sky without looking.
“We all have the same teacher,” you told me,
“but each of us learns something different in class.”
The moon will be full tonight,
its brilliance casting basketball-pole shadows onto my driveway.
I’ll squint up at the silver coin, smile, think of you.
And wish you were with me.