There is no water on the moon. No one can make love up there. If you tried to pray you’d float away or die. There is no spinning wheel on the moon, no tender yarn of skinstraw-gold that winds into a dream of being warmed by wool, no spinning there at all— just the bony ground that won’t dance for us, but turns slowly as a sad child grows. The stars around it sing sharp as spindles. Our flesh is blunt ash and far. No one goes there anymore. We stay on earth, tell old tales—Briar Rose, Rumplestiltskin. We watch our children try to guess his name— Sheepshanks, Spindleshanks— their failures can’t fill the dense mare frigoris, the seas of flaked basalt that scrape the throat. The child’s cry won’t seal heaven’s stone hole. The sky demands confession: I miss the way my mother would say moon, I miss my brother’s corduroy arms in the dark, his red telescope. I miss feeling sure of our hair, the yard’s night-lit moss, how I knew the wings of the divine were pale, dry, rounded, a mother’s shoulders, white and lunar on a cold night that needs contrails, silver threads, to tell a story of flight machines, explain a small body’s flight in prayer. Praise the spindle. Praise the drive wheel, praise the peg, the mother-of-all— O maria: praise the cold, dry rivers of the moon. They cannot know the rain and they will not rise again.

SALLY ROSEN KINDRED is the author of two books from Mayapple Press, Book of Asters (2014) and No Eden (2011), and a chapbook, Darling Hands, Darling Tongue (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). She has received fellowships from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Her poems have appeared in Blackbird, Linebreak, and Cave Wall.