By Moonlight

I’ll know which world I’m living in
if I can see the moon;
its fingerprint face
will tell me whether
this is my world, and yours,
or if I have slipped
on a patch of nowhere
and fallen into some other place.

But every night the moon,
like a shy fawn,
stays just out of sight,
demurely gathers its beams
about its ankles.
These tall buildings hide it from me,
and even the park
is shrouded by unquiet foliage;
by days its cool bowers enchant;
by night it’s full of narrow places
where no scintilla of moonlight
ever makes its way.

Our story’s trite, I know, but true:
we quarreled, I stormed out
and that’s when I think it happened.
I wandered heedlessly
under moon and shadow
with the tattered clouds flying
to and fro above.
I strayed far, and somehow
lost my way in the city
that has been my home
for more than eight years.

We fought over nothing!
We have our differences
but you must know I’d never leave,
not for weeks of
searching nightmarish streets
that feel less familiar day by day.

Our apartment must be here somewhere,
for this is my world,
if by moonlight,
and I just need to find the lanes I know.
But without the moon to guide me,
nights are cold and dark under empty stars.

And what will you be doing,
bathed in moonlight?
Searching for me
as I for you,
lost in crooked streets
under a barren sky?

—David C. Kopsaska-Merkel