“This pairing carries clout, a hint of treachery,
but it’s not me. Even at my most luminescent
I am wan beside the others, an outcast among
the constellations—even when—especially when—
full, but the fact that scientists,
not poets, keep this coinage
is endearing. Everyone loves a lunar eclipse,
but isn’t the main draw my diminishing?
At best I leave a blush behind,
and the difference between blood and blush,
vast as that from sky to earth.
But for those of you below
who rose from sleep on my behalf,
I will honor your moniker, apt or not.
Besides, your planet plays a part
in this display of color, along with that day star
that takes its light for granted. Were it not for all its rises
and falls, the bending of its light,
I would simply disappear into the dark,
return to anonymity — be, in your terms,
Be, in mine, pearled.”
Kathy Barham lives in Rose Valley, Pa., and received an MFA degree from Warren Wilson Graduate Program for Writers. These two poems were first published in the journal Hubbub.