Driving the car, walking the dog . . .
cresting the hill. When suddenly
you catch sight of the day-moon, why
does it come with what is almost a jolt of pain?

You mean the pain inflicted by its beauty?
No, I mean the pain
caused by its having been up for hours,
and though you’d noticed, you had not seen.

Blaring at you from a sky
the blue of a fast car of a bygone day —
you have so far to go in your perceptual awakening
and the day-moon is the meter of your failings.

And if you’d seen, would you still feel
that soft and slightly sick spot in your stomach
whenever you stoop to self-reflection: now
you wouldn’t stoop, being perceptually awakened

though not boastful, no never boastful.

Meanwhile the day-moon circles the globe like Superman,
hauling the seas on his white shoulders
flying half a mile a second,
getting things done

but also as calm as the Virgin Mary.
See her face up there?
People used to say that it was made of cheese.
Such silent cheese. Such busy cheese.

Lucia Perillo grew up in the suburbs of New York City. She earned a BSc in wildlife management from McGill University in Montreal and worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before earning an MA in English from Syracuse University. Perillo was the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Dangerous Life (1989), which won the Norma Farber Award from the Poetry Society of America; The Body Mutinies (1996), winner of the Kate Tufts prize from Claremont University; The Oldest Map with the Name America (1999); Luck is Luck (2005), a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize and won the Kingsley Tufts prize from Claremont University; Inseminating the Elephant (2009), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress; Spectrum of Possible Deaths (2012); and Time Will Clean the Carcass Bones: Selected and New Poems (2016).