Lunar Eclipse off Exit 88

226 total words    

1 minutes of reading

Somewhere in Oklahoma,

speeding through scrubby darkness,

              we pulled off the highway on Exit 88

on our way East from the West,

              our shadow slipping through the night.

Near to nothing, we stopped to shiver

where grasses swayed and cities couldn’t steal the sky,

              somewhere in Oklahoma

watching the moon turn to rust,

               slivering away to nothing.


One of us knew the folklore—

stories of the night wolf Hati,

               insatiable in the thin air of winter,

chasing the moon through a grassland of stars,

               intent on consuming the heavens.


The Norse would have known this demon

devouring the gleam of the moon.

                They would have known

to stamp and yell and pray,

               to drive it back into darkness.


Feet fixed in the shadow of the sliver,

we howled to the stars to bring back the moon.

Lights blazed in passing,

and we stood in the darkness off Exit 88,

              watching the nothing grow.

Partial Lunar Eclipse

Partial Lunar Eclipse (Wikicommons Public Domain)


  • Nell Smith

    Nell Smith is a field biologist and writer currently based in Northern Arizona. Much of Nell’s work is ecologically rooted as she examines the interplay between people and place. Her poetry has most recently been published in Hawk & WhippoorwillVagabond City LitSky Island Journal, and Entropy. She loves birds, saltwater, and the Sonoran desert during monsoon season. Learn more at

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