When I corset-stitched The Moon back together, she cast her gray-glow at the wrong angle through a window stained with earth.
At first, the animals were a little skeptical.
The Moon doesn’t have bad angles, they sung, a mutinous choir.
The Moon doesn’t know bad angles, I said and still say and will say again. We never know what we’re capable of.
When The Moon cast herself at the wrong angle, the animals raced to her feet, lapping up what little light she gave.
I told them stories about The Moon I read once from a No Longer text, before the angel numbers reconfigured our geometry.
No Longer, I told them, meant The Moon wouldn’t remember Before.
Nor the clandestine lovers who cut their hair just to bury it.
Nor our shared sing-song breath.
They trusted me then, the animals. Me, the night hag of the Nephilim, sentenced to small disclosures of No Longer.
But they clocked my poor needlework when the oven clock flashed 11:11 and I became a tiger in the spotlight.
-- Rachel Stempel is a genderqueer Ukrainian-Jewish poet and PhD candidate in English at Binghamton University. They are the author of the chapbooks Interiors (Foundlings Press, 2021) and Before The Desire To Eat (Finishing Line Press, 2022). They currently live in New York with their rabbit, Diego.