Perigee

— Barbara Saxton

It was never an official date. He never asked
if I’d be free to witness his super-sized arrival,
heralded in my morning newspaper, next to
a riveting article on fly-fishing therapy
for veterans.

But that evening found me, bravely biking
against perilous dusk traffic, in order
to arrive at an unlikely rendezvous: a freeway overpass,
littered with windswept wrappers, wads of
well-loved gum, empty cans of Red Bull, all set
to the charming soundtrack of nonstop vehicular
caterwauling.

Within minutes, his warm-up act was already
underway: crimson lava snaked down
the round western hills, subsiding to a horizon
of cantaloupe alpenglow. A sudden chill
overtaking my summer weight jacket. I nervously paced
the length of the overpass, checking and re-checking
the time, squinting through dusty fence links for signs
of my bridegroom’s arrival.

Being jilted, even at that unlikeliest of altars,
still stings. I readied one sneakered foot to flip up
my kickstand, when a thin slice of gray forehead
bulged over the Eastern mountains, followed by
the rest of his pockmarked old face. Borrowing
peach palettes from Sister Sunset’s waning wardrobe,
he seemed to blush at the sudden attention, as if
filling great chunks of the sky were nothing to
write home about.

Of course, scientists know all the reasons
some moons are made to appear so unnaturally huge. I freely admit
caring more for the what than the how. Riding home, I yelled
Look to your right! at travelers too busy to notice
my miracle moon. The wind swallowed my words,
like other melodies I’ve sung over night’s velvet chords
that ricocheted off life’s mundane
picture windows.
 

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