Don’t tell me barking at the moon is poetic, poetic’s my balls and nobody barks at them.

                The Acid Test, Élmer Mendoza (trans. Mark Fried)


Each poem, no matter whose, is balls.

There’s bark, on one hand, and there’s bay.

Interpreted, the bark says:

Go away, don’t dare to show your face around these parts again!

Interpreted, the bay says:

Why in heaven’s name did you abandon me?


The moon continues on its rounds and thinks:

Someday, these dogs will get their message straight.

Till then, pure balls!

Departure birthed dichotomy—

now laughable to reunite the moon and hound, just lunar doggerel,

but once upon that time

they both remember

there was never light between them.

So, the balls of remonstrating with the moon will always be poetic.

Tom Riordan lives in New Jersey. He’s a retired restaurant worker and teacher, and dreams about becoming pope for his next career.

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