Tides

by Maggie Wang

after ‘Moon’ by David Constantine

We defeated the sea.
Heavy rain and gusts of wind brought widespread flooding,
Lifted our palms to meet the droplets.

In yours landed a quiet fever, shivering. It spoke of moonlight,
Trees toppling, buildings damaged, rivers bursting their banks.
“In your last night, we will replace the sun.”

Keep talking, you said, and let me imagine
Thousands of people left to take extra care
In fields flooded with consternation.

As winter hit the surface of the lake
One journey was made easier by the storm.
Each stream was shattered. For comfort’s sake,

You turned away, knowing how
High wind speeds inland were an unusual feature.
I held your light and watched you weep.

You talked about the tide and showed me how to get there,
But flooding on the tracks caused delays and cancellations.
I asked how you could live under this barren moon.

Dear heart, you said, under the clouds,
When a bridge closes for only the second time in history,
You cannot speak or look to heaven for help.

Come in and sleep, I said, you must be tired
After holding back the sea for almost an hour.
Otherwise our universe will burn,

And I won’t wait for the moon to rise
Or for the gusts of wind to die down.
I’ll go out under the ghostly white sky.

Then you must keep me inside
While the warnings for snow and ice remain in place
And ask me about love to keep despair away.