Lunar Tropic

Poems by Michael Paul Hogan

Pieces from a fisherman’s notebook

I

At six p.m. the street
submits a false gradient,
seems to tilt towards the bay,
as though one coin has been taken
from a pair of balanced scales
and made into the moon

(an absolute circle
of fine white gold, with
the Presidente’s head smoothed
almost entirely away
except for one eye
and a vestigal stern smile).

II

Tonight the moon is sharp
as a fish-hook, trailing a few strands
of seaweed-colored sky.

                                   So, come,
Joaquin, let the girl you sleep with sleep
alone this baize-blue evening.
We have a boat made of tar and ricepaper
and an acre of phosphorescent ocean
to sail beyond.

                                                    Look! I bring a jug of seagreen
wine, and a necklace made of shark’s teeth
to protect from storms.

III

Like the dial on an old-style bakelite telephone
the moon is silent, circular, and filled
with imaginary voices.

                                                      In his shack
by the water’s edge the blind sailmender
straightens his knuckled back and hears
the hum of transatlantic conversations.

Michael Paul Hogan is a poet and literary journalist whose work has appeared extensively in the USA, UK, India and China. He is the author of five collections of poetry and is most recently Features Editor of the North Eastern China monthly Dalian Today.
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