Katharyn Howd Machan
Soon the Moon Will Slip from Its Mooring,
Ride the River of Night Alone
except for me, day’s sun in my pocket,
hiding warm light from the stars
that would steal it, swallow it,
lick hungrily at all its edges
to feed their cores’ black dust.
I’m a trickster, a traveler
known for my shenanigans
wherever a bell rings a little too loud
or three kids are born to a nanny.
Storytellers think they know my name
but—aha!—I keep changing its sound.
I exist to fool the wise and laugh
up my thrice-folded sleeve. No, not the devil,
not a coyote or spider or fox with full tail.
I’ve been alone since the dragon bellowed.
Watch me now as I climb and grab
that rope of light that swings down.
I’m faster than a sacred rat,
and I was born to sail.
Author’s Note: This title is gratefully borrowed from the last line of “Residency,” a poem by Barbara Crooker in her collection from Pittsburgh University Press, Some Glad Morning.
Katharyn Howd Machan writes poetry and memoir on her dragon patio when weather allows and elsewhere when it doesn’t. As a professor in the Department of Writing at Ithaca College, she mentors students in fairy-tale-based creative writing courses. Her most recent publications are A Slow Bottle of Wine (The Comstock Writers, Inc., 2020) and Dark Side of the Spoon (The Moonstone Press, 2022). For spirit and body, she belly dances.
Author’s Backstory: Just as the pandemic hit, my longtime poet friend Barbara Crooker’s book, Some Glad Morning, came out from University of Pittsburgh Press. She was unable to do a promotional tour, but I eagerly read the collection, and as a way to solace myself during isolation I began a series in tribute to her, Lines from Barbara, for which I have turned her last lines into my titles. I worked gradually and I completed it just three days ago [late June 2023]. The poem you [Abyss & Apex] selected takes its title from the last line of her “Residency.”
Editor’s Notes and/or Image Credit: Here is the image from “Touring the Treats of Taurus Using Mobile Astronomy Apps” [by Chris Vaughan n Space.com], but a different perspective pictures the constellation Eridanus on the background of the starry sky, mountains, forest and the rising moon [by Freepik https://www.freepik.com/premium-vector/constellation-eridanus-background-starry-sky-mountains-forest-rising-moon_33853695.htm] is linked here.