One Poem by Michael Spence

One Poem by Michael Spence

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On Hearing that the Moon is Leaving Us

for Jack


My brother, amateur astronomer,
Focus the funnel of your telescope
To pull the stars into your backyard.
You say the moon is making a slow escape:

An inch or two each year, its orbit grows
Like a ripple ring to wash its mottled float
Beyond the hold of Earth. I feel surprise
To feel surprised when you say the experts state

It’s certain now: the universe will swell
Without an end. There will be no pulling back,
No chance to start again. This mirror, small
And smudged, reflecting back a fleck

Of sun to carry us through all our nights,
Is showing what it shares with us is flight.




Michael SpenceMichael Spence drove public-transit buses in the Seattle area. His poems have appeared recently in The Hudson Review, Measure, and Tar River Poetry. His fifth book, Umbilical (St. Augustine’s Press, 2016), won the New Criterion Poetry Prize.

Header photo by AstroStar, courtesy Shutterstock. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.