That Wolf Moon

by D. Slayton Avery

Here’s the thing—
(About that full moon?)
a quiet one, honeyed
humming soft because of the snow
(now there’s the problem— snow!)
Not because of how it muffled the moonlight
(because remember
moonlight did not gurgle through the tree branches
didn’t babble like a brook rolling over dissonant rocks
as it might on a clear night
its light didn’t crackle and jingle as it would on a cold night)
Not to change the subject
not to harp on the problem of snow,
but it’d be good to have the language of the Inuit
to possess a toolkit of nouns
to apply to the different defining snows;
snow-nouns providing context
imparting specifics
instead of flailing with adjectives inadequate
to the task of describing that veiled Wolf Moon that withheld its howl
but suffused flake sodden clouds
with intoned cantillations
and drawled soft copper notes
endlessly echoed by the silent ringing snow.

The Mountain Troubadour 2024, Poetry Society of Vermont