“Moonrise” by Lora Gray

The doctors believe
the moon rising
in your throat
is cancer.
They do not see
the poetry etched
into those craters,
or the Sea of Tranquility
tucked
beneath your tongue.

You remember,
as a child,
rubbing charcoal
over birch trees
until arboreal languages
emerged
onto tracing paper,
crags and whorls like letters,
dimples of grammar
where branches once grew.
You never quite
deciphered it
and you mourned
the verse
of every severed limb.

When the doctors finally
carve your moon away,
they do not understand
your weeping.

They do not understand
when you reach up
in the recovery room
to tug your moon
home again,
the way your voice
loses its rhythm,
internal tides detached.
You press your palms
against the scar
they’ve given you
and pray
for a new moonrise,
for lunar languages
bubbling
from your lips,
in couplets
so perfectly complete
the doctors will have
no choice but to
finally
acknowledge the truth
of your changing topography.


Lora Gray is a non-binary speculative fiction writer and poet from Northeast Ohio. Their work has previously appeared, or is forthcoming, in Uncanny Magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Flash Fiction Online and Strange Horizons among other places. Lora is also an artist, dance instructor and wrangler of a very smart cat named Cecil. You can find Lora online at lora-gray.com.

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