Crescent Moon

The slim crescent of an early
          moon lifts between ribs of winter

trees. Appearing as clear
          as any pressed silk-screen image

might if backed by black
          cloth, the night sky's new imprint

of stars is now spreading
          overhead, its slow swirl of constellations

already showing, coiled
          above that dark square of bare ground

where a few months ago
          our back-yard garden flowers had grown.

Last night, a moonless sky
          was crowded with clouds the color

of ash passing low aloft,
          snow blowing all about below those

gray shapes as they moved
          through until morning, closing off

that arrangement of stars still
          lighting the other side of the horizon.


Edward Byrne has had five collections of poetry published, most recently East of Omaha (Pecan Grove Press, 1998) and Tidal Air (Pecan Grove Press, 2002). His poems have also appeared in numerous literary journals, including American Literary Review, American Poetry Review, American Scholar, The Literary Review, Missouri Review, North American Review, Quarterly West, and Southern Humanities Review. He is a professor in the English Department at Valparaiso University, where he also edits Valparaiso Poetry Review.