Sleeping with the Moon

Only occasionally does love come as an amelioration; instead, in these poems, it is "the bruise of fingers," "the insult of loss," "the disease of fondling," the thing that breaks into the "house of thin composure." Sometimes its selfish excitement hardly differs from anger, its loneliness from "three months in Virginia / looking at the weather channel." It's a tale told in ex-wives, a raw engagement overheard through the wall. Its product is new lives to be broken into or broken: the bed in the anguished title poem is a sleeping bag in a cold doorway. Yet throughout her work, whenever it shows its face, what a welcome love receives. - Valerie Trueblood

Colleen J. McElroy's poetry shoots for the moon, and takes it in, too, in one way after another. Rich with vivid imagery and candid storytelling, Sleeping with the Moon takes readers on moonlit adventures under the night sky, through the barroom's smoky haze, and under the covers.


the shadows between bones
shrink smaller than slivers
of moon or splinters of wood

doctors say you look
like a poster child for bones
bent on breaking like stones

strangers say you look
like yourself today and you
think : : if not me who?

you feel bones splinter
and one day after you wouldn't
look in the mirror you look

no longer like yourself - bones
turn to powder, joints to wood
one day when you seem to look

unlike yourself, others look
away, mistake you for a wounded
doe, an accident someone slipped

up and left breathing - wouldn't
keep or throw away - friends too
polite to say you look

like death warmed over and you look
at a hole in the sky, wonder who
unplugged what's leaking from bones

gone to seed and splinters
from water that won't freeze and one
of those days everything slips

out of focus and you look
at the dinner plate as if you've
never seen food, fingers all bones

sinking into themselves - you
bent to cycle in and out of pain one
day at a time, thinking who

would have believed this would
have become me and one day
decide this :: one day you'll
look like yourself and no other

--Collen J. McElroy

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