Children of the Moon, Chapter 17

Children of the Moon
childrenofmoonlighteffectsThe bus stopped at Port Charlotte;
Mira closed her eyes: she was sailing
on a white skiff with one white sail, skimming over the ocean in gentle blue
until a rolling sea fog wrapped around her

She saw white columns rise in the mist,
stone pillars of a temple: bones, and the water
life-blood; they formed a body,
the body of a people through which
she had always been traveling

Punta Gorda, Cape Coral, Pine Island,
the highway crossed the Everglades:
on this quiet day Mira heard alligators barking

What lay beyond came to her sight:
islands of cypress and Brazilian pepper,
ragged stands of pond apple,
stalked by tawny Florida panthers,
and invaded by pythons and monitor lizards

Small villages passed by;
and as she traveled, each place was more familiar;
the bus stopped at a town
and she sprang from her seat to land
on a parking lot paved with crushed shells

The moon was bold in the daytime sky
and sounds in the high range whisked away;
a tall, beautiful woman in a colorful rickrack skirt
and black hair swept high over her forehead
strode toward her with a smile

Evening came, and Will walked home,
down the road to the old ranch house;
his mother was leading a chestnut horse
from the barn, and he felt the air knocked
from his lungs

In this moment the veil was lifted:
his mother had been tending the horses
and his father working the ranch
without Sandy, without him;
he had left alone with their grief

He kept walking because the impetus
to go home was too strong
for even guilt to stop

He turned up the horseshoe drive
and his mother stood stone still
and then she screamed, looping the reins
over a fence post and running to him:
Will! It’s you.

A Ford F250 roared up as Will embraced
his mother; his father put a hand on his back:
Are you home for good?
and Will nodded yes:
I’m here.

Will wrote to Sandy, and visited Morris Rubra:
I want to help Sandy;
Is there anything I can do?

Morris Rubra handed Will news clippings:
I’ve been looking at cases all over the state
for similarities to this crime. Can you read these?
Will smiled in appreciation; settling in
at the ranch, he began to research legal cases

Evening came; the sunset was a riot of flame;
Laurel’s uncle opened Grandma Wing’s bungalow
to the gulf breeze and murmurs of flow and flux,
and Laurel moved through the rooms,
feeling at ease, as if she were coming home

The sun rose and the ocean gained color;
Laurel heard the waves resounding in the sand;
a cloud’s shadow rolled over
and she sat up with a start,
alone on the lap of the beach

What happens when we grow up?
she wondered, with a whirlpool
of pain in her chest,
what happened to all the things
we were going to do?

The sea was crashing into its borders,
a deep inner roar that unified the shore
and in time she became rooted in the sand,
made mellow by storms, swaying
with the trade winds:

Spun from light in silken threads,
melting into heated warm colors,
patterns of movement, a voice acapello
in tune with the musical revue
of the universe

Mira coursed back to the Gulf of Mexico,
crossing by boat to Sanibel Island,
the soft engine of time in the waves

In the early 1700s people left Georgia
to find a Gulf Coast safe harbor;
arriving by the 1760s in the old home
of the Calusa, they lived with and married
the Spanish, fishing and sailing the waters

Many years later, during the Seminole wars
the “Spanish Indians” sought refuge
in the Myakka Basin
and went south to the Everglades
to join the Miccosukee

From the hotel Mira could see miles
of glittering white sand littered with shells;
cumulus clouds spun off to form a wall
of pearl gray and pink light, delicate
marble at the horizon

Gazing across the streaming sea
she felt herself floating
in a small light boat of history

Far out over the ocean a cloudbank
surged toward shore, battleship grey lines
of rain slanted down

The ocean cringed and darkened
beneath the onslaught;
incandescent blues and greens
measured out time before the storm
with increasing delicacy

Evening came, wingbeats, wingbeats
over the sand; Mira threw open her arms
to welcome the storm’s fierce blast:
despite the shores of war and seas of loss,
she felt a favoring wind

To read the preceding chapters, please begin with the Prologue


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