If I look to the opposite shore and greet myself there, 
if I call out to myself come here 
and watch myself laboriously construct from shore-things 
a boat, and watch myself over the waters come rowing, 
but, crossing the midpoint between shores, 
out in the middle of the colorless lake, 
no longer approaching, no longer coming closer, 
disappear, where am I now, has my boat capsized? 

Infinite capacity for love in the smallest detail; 
infinite suffering in the innermost reality; 
large mind in even the dumbest, mutest object; 
destiny in an object that stands still; 
heart in the middle of the gray, motionless water; 
the largest sadness in the world in a groaning buoy; 
in a buoy and the bird overhead, huge sadness, 
and yet I hop from place to place as though I’m weightless. 

When I picture my father I see the surface of the moon, 
plains of moon-stuff chalk-dust papers shredded 
by a paper shredder, snowbanks of shredded paper, 
nobody to organize it all, no way to “moralize the day 
out of its aimlessness,” nobody with a Shop-Vac handy 
slowly to turn the whiteness into pattern and form, 
revealing, as a chisel reveals in the marble, 
a figure, a woman’s figure, an expression of bliss— 

now that that big nonentity the moon is in my mind 
the clichés for representing Earth are hereby banished— 
a hundred open-ended poems, abrupt transitions, high tones 
grating against the low, unsorted experience; 
sex beside the holy man defiled by sex, 
the pig pile of ways you can get high, right there 
beside the dawn and how you badly want to kill yourself, 
the fleer, the road that unravels like a banner before him— 

and the child’s attention fixed upon the animal book, 
and all the animals in the book intent upon dinner 
or eyeing some harbinger cloud forever, permanently 
dejected because some little stone turned their child 
to stone, weeping big mule or owl tears as though 
the child never turned the page, the sun never shone 
again bringing larkspurs, gentian, and the mule-boy 
reunited with mule mommy and daddy just in time to end, 

but the mule on page four will always be sad, the owl 
overhead will always mourn for the mule in his sadness, 
nobody will ever bring news of page eighteen when mule-boy 
returns from the dead, and the child reading the book 
will always preside like a sinister god over these animals, 
always dipping in and out of their moods like a snacker, 
a little sadness to tide you over until suppertime, 
a little elegiac owl, some time at the grief picnic . . . 

He has lived on the moon for now thirty years, 
part of an old guild, virtually a decoration, 
but I am proud of him as was his master-keeper proud 
of him, this noble, endless line of moonkeepers 
who hang the light that lights the moon and take it down 
every morning, meaning that it is morning, get up, 
that’s not a pie plate over there in the east, 
sleepyheads, lovers climb down off of your beloveds; 

as the child is to the book, a watcher, a dabbler, 
so he is, I think, to my own life, that he may know 
or not (his being, in the sky, in a position 
that looked at in a certain light affords omniscience 
but looked at in another light is blindness pure); 
but since he lights and snuffs the lantern 
on the moon, I have the illusion of his being nearby, 
not in the photonegative of life, snowbanks and cold, 

no flowers ever, hardly a bird, nobody to say to you, 
want a lick of this? Or here, I have an extra one, 
or you can take more and nothing bad will happen, 
or I like it a little more than that, or send me, 
won’t you, one of your new poems, I’d like to have that, 
and never the whispered request, there, tha-a-a-a-at’s it, 
r-r-r-right there, and so why would I go to the anti-Earth 
not that he asked, but if he did, why would I ever go 

stay with him on that windswept sand-planet, 
a house here, a house there, no tree, no sod, nothing 
not buried in sand, a few moon-plums and moon-peas 
the city people gather and preserve in ceramic jars, 
and schooners come from Boston to gather the sand 
for masonry suppliers back in the city, but sand 
sweeps in and fills the deep furrows their shovels leave 
and the ugly moon jays buzz above like houseflies; 

and here is the page where the man, the son 
of the man who keeps the moon, has fallen asleep; 
we are to understand those words he spoke just now 
as things said on the verge of sleep, and where, 
under the illustration of this man, his words were 
there is now only the letter z repeated eleven times; 
now look, what are those toys and books, what is 
that little bed, that moon mobile above the bed;