These are things I’m sure of:
My eyes, which I imagine are brown, are now all white.
My skin will stay scarred. Blood from barbed plants will always line my legs.
My stomach will forever rumble like low clouds, like rain somewhere west of me.
My stomach will forever feel the weight it carried for months and months again.
My thighs will ache, my hips will ache, my back will ache, my feet—god, my feet.
My mind would wander, question freedom and its worth. (the weight of—
)My desire for the moon to grow completely full and white and happy, round as
Mister and Missus Robinson’s oldest son who took after no one.
The woman who stood next to me, pulled me back a little
The woman was as white as the moon, as the night that fell around us
--I dodged lest the sky hit me
The woman said, with her hat on, crowning her face
In a way that I understood to both expose and hide her beauty
She said, “You’ll have to forgive them.”
I said, “I don’t know that word.”
The moon tonight, two sides of one.
I stare at the white side
and let my eyes blur in tears until
It grows fatter than it is:
The pale pools over between the stars.
I close my eyes and see a full moon:
Round as forgiveness.
I cringe at benevolence towards those I’ve quit,
Enough so to make me open my eyes.
On the other side, there is an absence of whiteness.
The shadowed half of the moon extends silently across the sky
offering a muted possibility of not even forgetting.
I lifted up into that darkness and, unflinching,
I go where I am welcome to entertain
The freedom to hate.
When the moon was too bright, we stayed in a little shed on someone’s farm. There was one window and it was broken. The glass was almost softened in the edges where space was made. The glass that had undoubtedly fallen whenever it was cracked had been swept up. It was easy to imagine little sharp shards, sheets of brokenness shattered further by work shoes, glass ground into shimmery bits, glass catching moonlight like crystals and expense, like sand again. I brush the toe of my boot against the floor, listened to the dirt slide like scouring soap against wood. I peek out the window and see the moon, its light as white as dried cow dung, its shape wobbling to fullness, and I imagine days I’ll spend here in this little shed.
eats the light
illuminates her skin
pocked by disease
and age lines
each contour three
I see in her
capability of hate
I stop breathing long enough
to understand the sounds of night—
I’ve heard these noises
all my life,
I get to listen.
Birds that are silent when the sun shines;
Bugs whose wings whisk the night air;
Wild dogs baying at the same moon
I cower under.
Carefully, I breathe again and hear the noise
I make join the nocturnal ensemble
I hear, too, her breathing beneath me
wonder what she’d think if
she’d wake up.
If she wakes now,
she will see me hovering
over her, she would hear the animals,
the wind forcing the leaves and the
grass to drum like rain fall. If she wakes
up, she would be disoriented
and here I know I should move away
but I can’t stop marveling over
her face and the light collected there
from the moon. I want to wake
to thank her, but I let her sleep.
Hers is the of face of hurt,
but she is not that, I know.
Like the moon, I watch her;
she guides me.
Looks like a face turning
Slightly away from
Me as I’m still looking—
Still trying to figure out
If this is friend or if
This is foe or if
This is nobody at all to
Be concerned with
And I can reach out
My arm, my
Hand, to touch her elbow
Just the inner part where the
Skin is often described as
Soft as tissue paper but I
Know the skin there is
Softer than that, I know
The skin there is as
As words not even whispered,
Words only breathed
In the darkest of nights under
A sky full of stars
To nobody at all.
Looks like a lie
That was told to me
When I was on the edge
Of dreaming, when I was
Young, when I was in
The arms of someone I love
And trusted, but accepted
The lie, and learned while
Eyes flutter against the
Weight of sleep
The difference between a lie
And fib, and story
Those who lie, I learn
may love me
those who fib, I learn
are trying to trick me
and those who tell stories
Nobody at all.
DeMisty D. Bellinger's writing has appeared in many places, including The Rumpus and Necessary Fiction. Her chapbook, Rubbing Elbows, is available from Finishing Line Press. DeMisty teaches creative writing and women studies at Fitchburg State University. She lives with her husband and twin daughters. DeMisty's online at demistybellinger.com.