Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Nightfall Beyond the Glass

Enfolding dust swirls silent
gray and separate,
the magnificent desolation
of night casting in unnoticed.

Beyond the glass,
a shadowless plain, illusion of silence,
the killing emptiness of absence,
countless broken stones,
the bones of unformed worlds.

Tiny pockmarks reveal bites,
the wind’s invisible stone teeth,
nibbling us all down to nothing
beneath the bad moons rising.

Who looks to these for love songs?

That dread moon waxing in the east?
This moon of fear rising again in the west?

Mars has two moons: Phobos and Deimos. Fear and Dread, the dogs of war. They’re little more than asteroids captured by the Martian gravity. Due to their diminutive size, they appear only as bright stars from the surface. Phobos moves so fast and orbits so close to the planet, it rises in the west and sets in the east. Because of its orbital speed, it rises and sets several times each night.

“Magnificent desolation” is the phrase Buzz Aldrin used to describe the surface of the moon.


  1. “Magnificent desolation”–that is so beautiful and apt! I love knowing that phrase’s origin. Poetry comes from so many unexpected places.

    Thanks for your comment on my poem today. Glad to have found your work, too!

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