Moon. Eleanor Eleanor. Oil on canvas. 2018

By Kathryn Cowles

This painting has no moon to see in it.
This painting has no flecks of snow,
no visible stars, no white point.
The reflection of the moon
has been unlaced from the lake in this painting
and so this painting has no lake to see.
The visible night lake
was always part moon
and there’s no moon.
What of moon there is in this painting
one has to see some other way.
What of moon there is can be sensed
the way tiny nightblooming flowers
can be sensed beyond the dark door just
before you step into their wall of smell.
You can feel the edge of the smell,
the green fists of bud uncapping their whole
perfume bottles full of dark white
into the heavy air, a liquid mixed with another liquid.
What of moon there is
my baby has in her mouth as she latches me,
a hidden white in circulation
as, suck, suck, swallow,
she processes her bank transaction.
O blue bowl of white rice, I sense your individual grains
O moon making shadows but still hidden
behind the house
O salt I toss over my shoulder and feel fall
behind me, O wedding veil of salt,
you moon, you threshold, you unpack the lake
you bloom onto the face of my baby,
and this painting has a baby in it, a baby
and a lake behind her that you can’t see.