Oh Mercy - Tony Hoagland
Only the billionth person
to glance up at the moon tonight
which looks bald, high-browed and professorial to me,
the kind of face I always shook my fist at
when I was seventeen
and every stopsign was a figure of authority
that had it in for me
and every bottle of cold beer
had a little picture of my father on the label
for smashing down in parking lots
at 2 AM, when things devolved
into the dance of who was craziest.
That year, if we could have reached the moon,
if we could have shoplifted the paint and telescoping ladders,
we would have scribbled FUCK YOU
on its massive yellow cheek,
thrilled about the opportunity
to offend three billion people
in a single night.
But the moon stayed out of reach,
It kept on varnishing the seas,
overseeing the development of grapes in Italy,
putting the midwest to bed
in white pajamas.
It's seen my kind
a million times before
upon this parapet of loneliness and fear
and how we come around in time
to lifting up our heads,
looking for the kindness
that would make revenge unnecessary.