Orbital

by Walter Smelt III

The moon’s been mulling things over
and over. She’s tired of walking around the whole Earth,
feeling on her back the sea’s weight.
The moon is no longer sure what
she’s advancing toward. The moon
hasn’t spoken to anyone but Neil Armstrong
in decades, and she worries she’s forgotten how.
The moon didn’t like being walked all over, yet
she misses the human contact. She’s sick
of shining on lovers’ faces and never
feeling their cheeks against her hand,
their tongues against her tongue.
The moon only last year stopped wearing her wedding ring.
The moon reads Harlequin novels she hides
on her dark side; she reads by the light
of herself, late into the night. The moon has a vibrator
unknown to astronomers. The moon is aging,
yes, but undeniably still beautiful. When
was the last time the moon went out
to a really fancy restaurant? The moon stares
at her craters all night long in a lake,
then feels guilty for being self-centered.
The moon has been divorced from the Earth
for 4.5 billion years, yet still hasn’t moved
out of the neighborhood. She says
they stay close for the sea’s sake but worries
she’s just going through the motions, you know?
The moon shrugs, wanes, paces on.

Walter Smelt III is a writer, teacher, and forager who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His poems have been published in Colorado Review, Subtropics, Poetry East, and Peripheries, and his translations of poems have appeared in The Battersea Review and the Harvard Divinity Bulletin.