“Moonlight in Vermont” – William Matthews

For best results, have this playing in the background.
It’s the very end of summer
and one night, probably this week, frost will sear,
like dry ice, a few leaves on trees that forayed
a few feet from the huddle of the woods, and there

they’ll be, come morning, waving their red hands
like proud culprits.
One year mosquitoes clung to and trailed from
the walls and ceilings thick as tatty fabric,

and another rain lambasted us derisively
until the sogged lawns steeped like rice
in paddies. But each
year there’s a dusk when the moon, like tonight’s,

has risen early, and every hue and tint of blue
creeps out, like an audience come to music,
to be warmed by the moon’s pale fire. A car
or truck whisks

by on 125.
Somebody’s hurrying home, I suppose.
Each blue is lined with a deeper blue, the way
an old magician’s sleeves might be composed

of handkerchiefs. There’s no illusion here.
It’s beautiful to watch
and that’s reason enough for blue after blue
to blossom, for each decaying swatch

to die into the next. The faster it goes
the less hurry I’m in for home or anywhere.
Like a vast grape the full
moon hangs above an empty Adirondack chair.

By now the moon itself is blue. By this
we mean that we can see in it the full freight
of our unspent love for it, for the blue night,
and for the hour, which is late.


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