Jonathan Duckworth

The Moon Is a Grave of Feathers

We nightgaze together
& I tell you little fables
like how there are birds
that fly between stars

& how when these birds
die, for even in fables
everything has an end,
they shed their feathers

& their pale remiges
make a moon that shines
in whatever raiment
the sun wore yesterday.

& the figure in regolith,
the gray blot, is no man:
she’s the moon lady, bent
over her waxing womb.

One thousand hands
she has, that reach every
place dark on this planet.
& I wonder, which of her

thousand hands now
grasps that vital fruit
plucked from a bough in
the orchard of your ribs?



“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the
Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted
out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”
–Neil Armstrong

There is power in things too small
to grasp

What is a mountain / an equation
of so many hands

clawing pawing & prying so many hours
to quarry so many

pebbles until one pebble is all that remains
The biggest elephant

is only so many torn fistfuls
of flesh away from a skeleton

The pyramids the Great Wall & that iron artery
the Union-Pacific / all quantifiable

in cracked bloodied palms & broken fingers
But no hand can pluck

the first cancerous cell
from a lung / No one has hands

to parse the paramecia from our water
& even the deftest touch

could never assemble us / could never
piece together our archipelago of atoms

Jonathan Duckworth

Jonathan Louis Duckworth received his MFA from Florida International University. His fiction, poetry, and non-fiction appears in or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Fourteen Hills, Meridian, Tupelo Quarterly, Jabberwock Review, Superstition Review, and elsewhere.