Day Moon

By   ∙  

This piece appears in the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal: Weather, No. 24 

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In the weeks after I left I waited
for someone a friend or her herself to walk

quickly up to me on the bus
or in the artisanal coffee shop and slap

my face spit on my hands call
me a bastard a real motherfucker by

weeks I mean the better part
of a year and by waited I mean I wanted

to be revealed by some visible sign
of my wretchedness a welt

to ride the ledge of my cheekbone
through the shit-spackled streets

of San Francisco a city ruined
by money and incomparably

beautiful it didn’t come and it didn’t
come and I grew desperate I stared

too long at strangers at Safeway I bought
boxes of clementines and ate them

like a possum on the train cramming
the rinds in the gap between the seat

and the wall I drank dark beer I made
no calls I sat on a hot metal bench

by a briny lake and tried
to imagine the lives of the joggers

passing in front of me their joys
their sicknesses and regrets it was

melodramatic I was useless I thought
of my friend who wrote a novel over

a long winter in Nova Scotia
read it once and buried it in the copse

of birches behind the house he chose
the spot he said for its plainness

so he couldn’t remember later
and dig it up and in this way one

medicated season slid into the next
without incident gardenia bloom

persistent sun I fell in love
with the perfect voice of a Midwest

radio DJ from a station I streamed
on my phone called in one request

after another I fell in love with a video
of Stevie Nicks singing backstage

to her makeup artist sheer
cotton dress their harmonies breezy

and immaculate I woke around noon
to the thup-thup of helicopters went out

in my underwear and found a fine
black powder settling on the windowsills

dusting the parked cars a day moon
suspended in orange haze it turned out

a man who would go months without
getting caught was methodically burning

the half-built condo complexes one
by one one in ten thousand residents

is a billionaire the same article
told me though I could be forgiven 

for thinking the headlands were on
fire again the intervals between

such disasters collapsing I caught
my neighbor’s eye who was stretching

on her stoop in a fantastic powder-blue
tracksuit what a world I said and she didn’t

seem to hear and jogged down the steps
and across the narrow street that stubborn

moon behind her rising or sinking  
or neither it was hard to know


Edgar Kunz is the author of Tap Out (Mariner/HMH, 2019), a NYT New & Noteworthy book.