On a dark night they converse around a fire
when by chance he looks back and sees the moon,
huge and bold, enter from the left, sneaking slyly across
the wrong side of the sky.

In fact, she's not in the sky at all,
but floats on a slick of oil.
Close-up, she's brilliant chalk-white,
studded with dry maria.
Consumed by her own reflected light,
she appears a ruling cursor of the norm,
not meant to be seen at all.

When he looks again she's
no more than a mile offshore,
sailing slowly to port.
She’s not as large as reputed,
just big enough to make him feel small,
to flagrantly disregard the proper scale of things,
leaving him adrift in dire relativism.

Only he catches that moon where she is not supposed to be,
roaming beyond the black borders of the beach,
to become the brightest secret of
the darkest side of him.

Originally published in UNM’s Blue Mesa magazine.



... if those girls whom you explain
be but an itching in your fabulous brain!
Faun, the illusion escapes from the blue eyes ...
– Afternoon of the Faun

Nijinsky, just born, yawns and stretches under the sun.
He can’t tell lower thoughts from higher,
animal states from human. He could be seeing
through the eyes of a chimpanzee or a wasp.
So merciful are his limitations,
he’s at home no matter what species he is.

Amid the hormonal vapors of Agnucasta and myrtle
girls in a grove nearby exude the odor of a dress
just beginning to burn. He dances Debussy’s larghetto to the
music of woodwinds and saxophone. There in the jungle of that
fabulous brain, his author’s delusions, seen in their
first-impression clarity, break his tender heart.

© Mel Weisburd. These poems are from Mel's new book entitled, "A Life of Windows & Mirrors" (Selected Poems 1948-2005). It is available through or You can contact Mel at or visit his website at