Poetry November 2007

Calle Plácida Luz de la Luna

“Street of Placid Moonlight”? Gimme a break.
My aunt’s Arizona subdivision
summoned all my Manhattan derision
—how corny, how gringo, how fake!

But when one night I took my daughter
out for a walk, the moon rode high, and lo,
the even sheen it cast across the faux-
adobe houses, and the way it caught her

exuberant small face, upturned in wonderment,
filled me with the kind of mild serenity
that had, coyotelike, eluded me
in every tranquil desert place we went;

not among the ironwoods and saguaros
but within that synthetic so-called estate,
I found calm indifference to the laws of fate
and a sudden lifting of all sorrows.

Past stagey aloes and transplanted mesquites,
beneath a cliché-encrusted moon,
we pottered along, perfectly in tune—
with what happy steps we walked those placid streets.

Presented by

Ben Downing is the author of The Calligraphy Shop (2003), a book of poems. He lives in New York.

Why Is Google Making Human Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors at a world-class life sciences lab are trying to change the way people think about their health.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Videos

Why Is Google Making Human Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In