Valerie Muensterman is a senior at Mater Dei High School in southern Indiana. She is actively involved in theatre and has written and directed four plays at her school. In addition to writing, Valerie enjoys playing the piano, banjo, guitar, and ukulele. She plans to pursue writing in college.
It’s a blood moon tonight.
Follow the fumes of your father’s cigarette
– in socks – down silenced sidewalk in front of your house
and let concrete gnaw the callused pads of toes.
Red smoke enkindling the lines
of his cupped fingers.
Examine the sky and don’t see anything.
Planes winking down like neon bar signs drifting
through miles of black dust on tap.
Remember Callisto who bore a son
by the guise of friendship,
the deceit of a god who made them celestial.
A glimpse of infinity. Two blinking lights
in a black pool of beer.
Watch your sister’s boyfriend twine his arms
over hers from behind as they stargaze quietly.
Think your arms are cold.
Your grandfather used to say that working on a roof
in a full moon makes the nails rise up out of the tiles
and he planted according to its seasons.
Then why brown instead of blood.
Remember that you used to lean over
hot foggy ashtrays in his living room
breathing in the smell.
The moon is powerful.
Three commercial airplanes bleed solitarily,
so maybe you should put on a gray sweatshirt.
Try to make out the big dipper
but you can never see the big dipper
and wish you could cry.
Watch the pale fingers of fog reaching
as if to claim you.
If God is the sun then Mary is the moon
a male teacher said drawing two misshapen circles
in chalk. A reflection of light.
The moon is powerful.
Do you think there’s Mormons out there
that think this is the end.
His hand, a red ring burning
what you thought you’d be watching.
Look up to the icy burning orbs rising up
like tiny glowing nail heads and realize
that the sky is not a blanket.
That you could travel your entire life in their
luminous direction and never touch one nail head
your body confined
are not infinite, like black dust.
You are not cold brewed
on tap. Consider this
when you are alone with friends and strangers,
and measure how small,how small.
When my mother was small she used to listen to bird records with the neighbor lady
and when she was seven she found her dead beside the lawn mower.
On summer mornings we listen for birds in the darkness with warm tea and peaches in milk.
That’s a female cardinal, she says,
and spoons sugar on tart yellow peaches.
If We’re Being Honest
You will probably never have an original thought if we’re being honest, a gray teacher stated
so I envisioned twelve catfish beneath a purple umbrella and repeated with quiet urgency,
There are twelve catfish beneath a purple umbrella.
Your hair is the color of peppermint taffy, the boy who blocks my view of the projector says
because I cannot separate friendship from flirtation or mumblings from inspiration.
You’re blocking my view of the projector I say.
The Diana of Vanderburgh County he calls me, and I ask him to move to the right.
The compression of a hose beneath a thumb. Cold and quick. A stream of glass.
He holds me up to the bathroom mirror and counts the refractions of light.
A nun told me the bars of the golden gates are smelted with colors we never even thought of,
the coalescence of liquid ore and ethereal spectrum.
To think what the human mind couldn’t fabricate.
Twelve catfish beneath a purple umbrella.