A Voyage to the Moon
David C. Kopaska-Merkel
The open window welcomes the night:
a cornucopia of urgency, noises sharp and subtle,
night’s warm breath framed by southern oak.
I read now by moonlight, alone,
ensconced in the window seat,
the pages brimming with autumn magic,
the moon’s rays playing with the books, the shelves,
the boards that are the floor.
That sly moon, author of my vision,
leans down for a peek over my shoulder,
I feel her on my neck.
She comes too close,
her creamy light spilling over the sill and
filling the library with a pale radiance
that smells like brandy.
The room is flooded, I am
defenestrated , unmoored, aspin in the lunar torrent,
riding high and rising fast.
I reach for the top of the pecan tree but clutch only air,
whirl into the sky as Luna leers down–
ravishing the countryside with her palpable effulgence,
abducting its denizens and anything else not tied down.
Faster and faster the flood speeds moonward–
soon we shall pour into her maria,
adrift with flotsam, alive with her heady magic.
The cold boundary of space has been transgressed–
Luna stretches out her arms and harvests her sister’s
bounty like she can’t grow her own.
I may drown in that cratered sea,
my bones may sprout corals like Gaia’s never seen.
Or mayhap I’ll beach, Crusoe-like, on a dusty shore,
rescued by the moon men, head-quills bobbing,
who take me to their Queen.
She’ll judge me, find me wanting,
pen me with her other slaves, fodder for her beasts,
or perhaps I’ll catch her eye, and she’ll
save me for one of those long eclipses,
an exotic morsel ripe for her discerning palate,
something to savor,
or maybe my terrestrial good looks will charm her,
appeal to her sense of adventure, her kinky side,
quicken her turgid lunatic blood,
and she may tell me, in words I won’t yet understand:
“I want to bear your young.”
I can see us now, throes of passion on her rococo balcony,
Earth huge in the sky, blessing our love
with her sea-bent light.
At first we’re shy, our bodies unfamiliar,
appendages the wrong size and shape,
perhaps even dangerous to one another,
but soon we find a way,
for there is always a way.
She finds me satisfying like none of her race ever was,
whilst I find love that was never mine on Earth.
Of course the old guard don’t approve:
A human dallying with their Queen?
She is deposed, I challenged to a succession of deadly duels,
the mobs rioting in the craters,
burning us both in effigy,
we, prisoners in her penthouse suite,
dining on luxuries till they start to run low.
Then, we flee when the tides are high,
the Queen climbs into her coracle, quills swaying,
while I fight off her xenophobic bodyguards
with a snatched-up sword.
Then we’re off! Sailing out of reach, she nestled under
my arm, her aquamarine eyes gazing into mine
as I gently stroke her trembling cheek,
murmuring words of comfort and of love.
Where shall we go?
On Earth she’d be a curiosity, I can’t take her there.
Can a moon maid be Queen on Mars?
Mars may already have his queens,
and their buxom charms may
tempt me as cruelly as the long knives of his warriors.
Perhaps it’s best if we take the royal barge:
we could cruise the galaxy forever, she and I,
with a few loyal retainers, and our many children.
I’ll father a tribe of galactic nomads,
and tell stories (mostly lies)
about the worlds we’ve seen and left behind.
But then again, she might use me up,
cast me aside like an old dishrag,
I might find the lunarian mode of gestation
to be a trial:
the young might grow within the male,
from his corpus,
waxing as he wanes
till he bursts asunder,
scattering a sliding, flip-flopping mass
of offspring like a seine of fish.
At first I’d feel them like the faintest pangs
of hunger or of gas;
I’d grimace, pause, go on,
living a bit harder, a little faster–
nervous but not yet frantic,
trying to squeeze a few more minutes
from every whirling day,
then more, and more, and more,
till I was doubling over every few minutes,
gasping, screaming, writhing,
while the Court pretended not to notice
(they’ve seen it all before).
Finally, confined to bed, strapped down,
solicitous care taken during my final days.
Do I want to go that route?
It could be worth it—live like a king for a few months,
love the most beauteous queen on five planets
and twelve moons,
the nights of dancing, spear-fishing in the canals of Mars,
volcano diving on Venus,
maybe even trek the ice fields of Io (or is it Europa?),
fed only the finest delicacies the solar system has to offer,
then go out with a bang!
The moon is closer now, but I see no queens,
nor armored soldiery,
the sea’s aboil, a ferment of detritus,
and amidmost is a large and gaping mouth.
It will be a quick and pointless end I see,
masticated ad maria, a minuscule morsel
for this great lunar beast.
Or it may be I can surf on through,
catching hold of an eddying spar of wood.
Yes! I’ll ride the flood right through the tiger,
and out the other end.
I’ll bob to the surface, drift gently ashore,
(still clinging to my makeshift surfboard),
surely then I’ll be found, more dead than alive,
prostrate on the beach…
and ready for love.
Prev. published in Shoggoths (chapbook, 2003)