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SOLAR MACHINERY / Carol Muske Full moon. Orange, over a TV antenna. Early night, light plane traveling up fast ahead of its sound. White steeple of noise. No cars and my neighbor's solar machinery working hard at hoarding the light. All night: maybe the moon will renegotiate its position relative to us. For centuries, we asked only beauty of it, then a landing place a spot where rockets could come, weightless, down. What I'd like is a fresh start in the dark room where I hold my pocket mirror up and it fills with moonlight. There's my mouth in the dark glass— like a television ad, eerie bow of motion and teeth. Erotic always, seeing a woman's lips moving close-up, you know, pretty— but the feel of an obscene word repeated, repeated, with passion and precision and for you, that's right, you specifically. The Missouri Review · 19 IMMUNITY / Carol Muske Issa's little daughter, Sato-jo, on all fours in this haiku, laughs! She's nearly my daughter's age when he makes her immortal. Her face contains his, like a reflection of sun that leaps from wave to wave— if real age is in the expression, then she's sure enough of love to have begun moving away. One step, two. How the body sways away from its origins, watching the parents, the mourners who laugh and clap, watching back. I look up into sunlight, Annie in her flowered suit, pressing her hands on the moon rocket printed on the bottom of her pool. Two haiku, two seasons blown gently apart by her breath: Sato-jo dying of smallpox, Issa bending over her, light surrounding them like a moat. The burning wire between them, silence: the same soundless echo Hokusai paints between the great wave, poised, and the doomed fishing boats below. And these, haiku: two opposed notions of perfection. The fat baby serene, New Year's Day. Then autumn winds scattering the red blossoms she loved to pluck. 20 · The Missouri Review Either her death or her life. Neither will he liken to anything. Not her soul to a kite. Not the kite to a marker, bearing the name of the child running on the earth below it. Nothing but water pouring into water. Spring ending. Him holding her in that moment before immunity, before the curse's curse, the dream floats up on its stilts of built resistance into this future where I wrap her in a towel, I carry her in my arms. I take her death into me little by little—temple bells, grass— I am so happy when she smiles like this when I see she'll live forever. Carol Muske The Missouri Review · 21 ...


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