My Mother’s Moon
Her day was not complete
until she stepped out to see the moon.
It might be an orange ball rising
or a white turtle egg hovering.
More than a thousand full moons
shadowed my mother.
She studied the moon when Neil Armstrong stepped upon it.
She cried for her son who saw the same moon rising
over rice paddies and incoming mortars in Vietnam.
There was the empty nest moon the autumn I left for college,
but the loneliest moon was the August my Dad died.
The moon of selling her house changed the view,
rising to different walls. Yet it was always her moon at bedtime.
She loved the strawberry moon, harvest moon,
eclipses of the moon, Indian summer moon.
And finally, a full moon rising on her last night,
crickets in the grass singing.
I held her hand, bed pulled close to the window,
moonlight falling gently across her face.
We were eleven
growing into boy crazy,
sunbathing in baby oil
adhesive tape on our thighs
making a W on our skin that
tanned everywhere, but there.
The white W reflected the boy we liked: William.
It was the summer of rock and roll
“Where the Boys Are”
“School’s Out for the Summer”
It was the summer of camping out in the backyard,
olive-green pup tent pitched under the big maple.
Popcorn, pillows, flashlights,
transistor radio playing, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”
and “We Sang in the Sunshine “.
The morning sun rose hot on the dark tent.
We flung the door flaps open to our remnants of fun,
a scattered deck of cards,
rumpled sleeping bags and
popcorn seeds that lined the bottom of the bowl.
The cat was out early, hunting.
We heard her little bell and I cooed
“Inky. Inksby. Kitty. Sweetieeeee!”
which evolved into screams, as a
small gray mouse scurried into the tent,
little claws scratching up Becky’s back,
inside her PJ top. More screaming,
as the tent bulged like two watermelons
in a Super Valu bread bag.
Inky ran off, the two of us scrambled out of the tent,
transistor radio crackling –
the Beach Boys’ “Surfer girl”,
hot sun, adhesive tape gone,
white W’s blaring on our thighs,
not a boy in sight.
Annette Langlois Grunseth, Green Bay, Wisconsin, has published poems in Portage Magazine as well as many local and national publications. Her book Becoming Trans-Parent, One Family’s Journey of Gender Transition is being released summer 2017, (Finishing Line Press). When not writing, she advocates for human rights.