Moonviewing

Walking the dog, I carry a plastic bag and the end of the leash. It's a clear night, the cracked sidewalks are marked for repair
 
though by clear I don't mean cloudless, rather that a beam passes with little interference from particles, dazzling
 
to the receiving eye. A dove-gray cloud slides, elides the moon, fills itself, spills light and returns to two dimensions, flat as glass. Seeing eye, cloud and moon
 
makes me think of Dalí, Buñuel and their jump cuts in silent black and white: splayed eye/moon behind a scrap of vapor/slicing razor. Not to mention the dog.
 
Soon other moons rush in from secondary sources—the screen saver, frame-filling cartoon orbs silhouetting cartoon magpies, the hurdle for the jumping cow,
 
the man in the—maybe I'm all eye and no ear. I haven't mentioned the singing insects, or the northwest wind carrying the pop of distant firecrackers,
 
which frighten the dog into turning and pulling me along the route we just passed, giving me another chance to listen
 
to air conditioners and sprinkling systems, cars starting, dryers tumbling, the spinning neighborhood running counterpoint to chanting crickets and panting dog,
 
another pop and a more desperate, doggy-scramble over broken concrete. I stumble on the rhythm, think back to the quiet, look at the sky, remembering
 
          when A Clear Moonlit Night was occasion for Shōnagon to stand apart from the ladies-in-waiting, saying, in defense of her silence, "I am gazing into the autumn moon";
 
          when, in Basho, the clouds gave beholders a chance to dodge moonviewing, a respite from the light's cutting intensity;
 
          that The Moon is the Oldest TV according to Nam June Paik, with his seventeen monitors tuned to all phases at once.
 
By now the dog is walking me. The moon is the oldest muse, yet she is made new again and again, sometimes knife-bright, sometimes veiled,
 
sometimes held in a crystal bowl of evening air.
Moonviewing
Carol Todaro
Todaro_cover

Moonviewing

Carol Todaro

Floating Wolf Quarterly Cover_wolf