I Gave Him the Moon

Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad
| poetry


—with thanks to Geoff Notkin


—a piece of it, lunar rock, gingerly, as directed.
I gave him the moon, or as we call it, mah, the H heard too.
In Farsi, one word means everything like it; milk is sheer
and sheer is brave and sheer is lion. Mah is moon and month
is mah and mah is perfect. Mah is perfect when you exhale
hard the H like it has its own breath to be taken. But I gave him
the moon because I am tired of calling beauty by every name
that is not its own; a symbol is never the object, and every
writer’s moonlike moon is never the moon; and when the moon
ejected rock from its surface that landed on earth, somehow then
into my hands, and passed to his—that is no figure of speech.
There it was, one celestial body, holding between his palms
another, and now every night when I look up, the marvel will be
different, that I gave him the moon, and I wouldn’t be orbiting
any metaphor with that statement, except when the memory
makes me say, that was mah, and my hard breath is gone.

Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad’s poetry has appeared in Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Waxwing , among others. She is the poetry editor for Noble / Gas Qtrly, and is a Best of the Net, Pushcart Prize, and Best New Poets nominee. She lives in New York, where she practices matrimonial law.

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