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30 THEMISSOURIREVIEW SEARCHING FOR THE CANTO FERMO / Diane Wakoski Moon, moon, when you leave me alone all the darkness for Norman Hindleyis an utter blackness. Robert Creeley, "A Form Of Women" Preface: Thoth, anibis standing on onelongleg, ora dog-headed baboon, was given the moon, a gift created especially for him by Ra, when Thoth searched in the desert and returned to Ra his Eye who had run away, in the form ofthe beautiful woman, Tefnut. His owneye, then, Thoth's, the moon, that litchi nut. And Nut (noot), that woman stretched out, her elongated body arched over the earth so that only her toes and fingertips touched her husband, Geb, the earth, Nut, Night, tall woman was befriended by Thoth who felt sorry that Ra, jealous, decreed that Nut would notbe able to bear children during any month ofthe year. The wily old dog-headed baboon, Thoth, he played dice with the moon, and won from him a seventy-second part of his light. Five days, on that 360 day lunar calendar, and on each of these days, respite from the rest of the year, Nut could give birth. So, she and Geb had their children after all: Isis, Osiris, Horus, Set, and Nephthys. Gifts of the moon. Norman, the moon, like Mary-Beth's pleasing savouries (litchi nuts stuffed with cream cheese that has been studded with candied ginger), unites us in our search for communication, that perfect word, the measurer of time, in Egypt (or California or Hawaii) holding a palm branch, sometimes a silver bow, and arrows made of children's bones. Do men and women see the same moon in the sky? Sometimes I wonder if there is not a form of woman which is closer to man than to that tall long-toed and fingered woman, Night, Nut, arching over the earth like an eel, Diane Wakoski 31 giving birth to five hell-raising children. Not Sapphic woman, loving other women, but somehow that image of the cool hidden form in the rain forest of your rescue, Norman; the huntress with silver bow and arrow, the goddess of chastity or virginity, which did not mean abstinence from sex, but rather, an unmarried woman. The moon in that Egyptian world was a man, a gambler, though in so many other places moon is woman, but never woman of the hearth, never woman of food and nourishing meals. Just as the great chefs of Europe are men, the moon was a gambling man on the Nile. I have never been able to make myself into that wife and mother, that woman of the hearth, though I love to cook and I do not make love to other women. I have felt myself often as that presence hidden behind the palm ferns. I have felt myself the gambler on the Nile who felt sorry for Nut, and let Thoth win for her a seventy-second part of my light in order to give her babies. I understand that giving of fertility and of sharing. But when I have felt myself hunting, I have been terrified at what you so calmly accepted, shooting the mother turkey in her nest, knowing as a woman, that turkey could be me; oh, but what I have not felt is some perfect combination of the word, the belly, and the hand, and in giving birth, felt only the blood, the pain, the meaningless result. When my hand reaches out to take one of those juicy litchi nuts with ginger and cream cheese, I suddenly become the eye, the moon, see myself in a different form, the one you sensed in the forest, and feel the big teeth enclosing my own form. 32 THEMISSOURIREVIEW Norman, the moon unites us. I, not quite woman, you, not quite man, with that voice singing out of you like babies popping out of your mouth, their fat little hands holding the bow and arrow for you, so that you too can hide behind the ferns in the cool rain forest; A word: that is the huntress. The word which is the venison you shot, marinated in soy sauce, tequila and ginger, the word which is fresh mangoes...


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