RED MOON OVER POESTENKILL
Last night it was prime numbers
and fractions, tears and tantrums
as your mother and I hovered
over you and your worksheet
like sulky swans; tonight,
the madness of the Greek heroes
blocked by Zeus from getting what
they wanted — women, beautiful ones.
Honey, don’t give in. Prime numbers,
Greeks, grammar — in the firmament
of all things iffy these are like
the red moon over Poestenkill tonight,
robust multiples of reduction lit
to a constancy as fluid as the commas
you keep misplacing in your paragraphs.
Call recess. Take up your telescope,
set up on the hill in our backyard,
aim it at the stars’ cold calculus,
and bring the red moon close,
if not for clarity then for the rhetoric
the comma serves — a simple pause,
a rest. This is language, too,
and the Greeks were good grammarians.