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The Night Clouds Ate the Moon

The Night Clouds Ate the Moon by Greg Powell

The Night Clouds Ate the Moon

Strange May night chill breeze
gray black clouds rush in black above
And beyond. Faster than ever before.
The earth warming chill night, sky
Boiling froth of clouds drawn to
Messenger moon speaking sun codes
To moaning earth. Is it labor or death?
Labor or death… or both birthing
Children of dust and storm
Dust and storm. I stand here a child
Of dust and storm in memories and
Yet to come, soon. Back in the day
In that back yard bought with mom
And daddy’s sweat and debt
At night after daddy left
For second job I remember that
May night chill breeze and black clouds
Encircling moon like sky hyenas
And the air tasting chemical
Metallic to skin and reddened eyes
From fire belching mountain across
Highway the air the sky the clouds
Coming, through small brick house
Kitchen windows closed as bulwark
But failing to impede the seep
Through stove top fragrance
of momma cooking momma singing
walk with me Lord walk with me
momma praying for daddy’s strength
in the Lord walking in uniform under
same besieged moon
sky and vile cloud in chill May night
seeping into kitchen camouflaged
by momma’s love speaking
sizzling pots and faith cries
into skin and marrow of bones
to rape her blood
to eventual death
I remember, here and now
Where I stand against hyena clouds
Coming in chill breeze
To claim sun-clothed little sky rock
In dark blob mouth a morsel
For cloud predator to gorge
swollen cumulous belly
Fangs sink into screaming moon
Cries of dying and desolation
of bone and blood
Clouds swallow moon whole
Before they come for me


This poem is part of a series by Greg Powell, “Earth Maternal,” including Spiritual for Mama, Momma’s Redemption Song, Daddy Sings of Mother,and Mother’s Day in Summer’s Snow.