Moonburst and Shortcuts, 2 poems by J. R. Solonche

Photo of moon with clouds passing by
Photo by Shirin Saleki on Unsplash

It was wan.
It was white.
It was sickly white.
It was filled to full with white.
It was white as a sheet.
It saw a ghost.
It saw me.
I was the ghost it saw.
I was at the window and it saw me.
I wasn’t dead but I was a ghost.
I was the ghost of the me I was this morning.
The sun saw me then.
It burst through the window.
It laughed in my face.


“Remember, there are no shortcuts,”
he used to say. He was my father,
and he used to say that a lot. I think
he said that more than he said anything.
I knew what he meant. He didn’t need
to spell it out. So, of course, I took all
the shortcuts I could find. The shortcut
to the ball field. The shortcut to the
candy store. The shortcut to the deli.
The shortcut to the pizza place. The
shortcut to the junior high school.
The shortcut to the high school. The
shortcut to the B average in high
school. The shortcut to the college
across town. The shortcut to dropping
out. The shortcut to the woman I
married. The shortcut to becoming
a poet. I never told him he was right.

Nominated for the National Book Award and nominated three times for Pulitzer Prize, J. R. Solonche is the author of thirty books of poetry and co-author of another. He lives in the Hudson Valley.

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