Stars like sentinels stand by

by Oz Hardwick

The moon is heavy tonight,
plump and livid, barely clearing
the black ground. Blind and bloodshot,
it eyes nothing. Brokentoothed,
hills snap at its arc, swallowing
light. These are the nights I feared,
swollen with superstition and ill omen,
scratched and pricked by old wives’ tales
and dark mezzotints in the Family Bible.

You read this night before I was born,
in dogeared cards and damp tealeaves,
thumbed almanacs and the turn of the sky,
milk eyes piercing flesh and futures.
Your scent of mothballs and roses
remembers itself in the empty chill
as the last bite of the moon disappears,
leaving me in the company of swans,
eagles, hounds and hunters; guardians
you set to watch my solitary transit.