That bluish cataract milky with age,
the moon’s grey glimpse gauzed by night
Scuffed and ochreous as a child’s lost ball
discovered under last December’s ice,
With necrotic shadows wisping its forehead
—the sudden pleasure of death after long pain—
Invents its spires and beginning belfries.
The moon is not cold cinder swathed
In the stark fixative of thermal glass
nor even speechless stone freckled with gleams
Nor a chill foundation for persuasive air.
Don’t be misled by its shrewd blue gaze:
The small brown bat can clasp it in his mouth.
This appeared in the May 2012 issue.
Eric Ormsby is a professor at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, UK. His poetry appears widely, in such magazines as The New Yorker and The Paris Review.