In Her Bag: Poetry by Chris Lawson

She held a brown bag.
Opened it for me to see. 

Expecting a baby squirrel
on tattered cloth, unopened
eyes and hungry?

Something she found,
a wooden hand, Buddha’s perhaps,
broken off at the wrist,
and worn, and reeking with age?

A lucky 8-ball, it’s milky triangle
proffering -when of question posed-
“outlook good”or “better not tell you now”?

There in her brown bag,
soiled and crinkled as yesterday
(a not-great yesterday)
sat the moon.
The actual moon.

It was not a metaphor,
or globe, or cut of jewel.
Just the same damn moon
I’d looked at 1000 times,
trying to see a face, but failing
to see anything but an off-whiteness.

But with grey, and a little yellow too,
and holes, well…craters.
That old thing that pulls the water,
that doesn’t smile with cast eyes
on anyone, that moon.

Rose late, there at midday,
indifferent and almost nothing,
and rarely full, in her bag.
Her face, unremarkable.
Her eyes, not with shine
or anything extra.
She said “Just look,
it’s the moon. You know what.
You always do.”