Reluctant Moon

Vivian McInerny
2 min readOct 21, 2022

A poem in phases

Photo by Jack Taylor on Unsplash

In the dim-lit murk of memory

where thoughts stick

like boots in the marsh mud,

I sink into an image of you,

under a full moon,

our first.


Seated cross-legged on the almost floor of the night temple,

almost because weeds pushing through the cracked soapstone

offered more flora than floor.

Two ruined walls remained standing, crumbling

No ceiling left for them to hold

Only the starless templed sky


You sang

off-key and with much enthusiasm

the melody long-since forgotten

but your feral face turned moon ward

remains in my brain, unwrinkled


While others chanted, you

and I, blasphemous, laughing, sneaked off into the dream green wood,

padded barefoot down the pulpous moss bank

knelt before a sacred tributary,

and pressing unholy lips to water,



I tried to leave you first in Kipling’s India,

in Matthiesen’s Nepal, Ishiguro’s England,

in my many disordered states.

Throwing I Ching coins for guidance

I sought answers in the book you gifted

and inscribed, “For all the changes.”

What chance did I have?


Time rolled on and over my jagged ambivalence

leaving scree in its crevices

like oyster sands turned to pearls

some days moon-lustrous,

others wound rope-tight around my neck.

And still we loved.


Where we went, we were



Vivian McInerny

Career journalist, essayist, fiction writer, and life-long spirit-quester.