For Willa

Fires | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

An 1874 photograph by Scottish astronomer James Nasmyth of a plaster model he made of the surface of the moon. Courtesy of the Public Domain Review.

My mother calls about a new house
they might move to, there were legal issues,
but also a big lot.
Won’t the fires affect California
property values, I ask, also Am I
going to live a comfortable life
She says no, also, sends me a picture
of champagne. She never drinks.
My friend once taught me a mnemonic for
freeway exits between my house
and school. Please Let’s Leave, I can’t
remember the rest.
Willa sounds like willow,
also desert, also cheese.
I call her on the taxi home three hours ahead.
The super-moon looks just like a normal moon,
she says, also Am I in the stage of life
where I can buy a paper lantern
I bought vitamins but am wary
of too much Vitamin E,
overconsumption of which
has been linked with early death.
My sidewalks are trapped in
super moonlight.
Willa, let’s take our pens and write letters
to everyone who would miss us.
Night has a softness same everywhere
in the world.
I can begin.
Dear Rachel, for example,
We are all fine.

Cleo Qian is a writer from California whose work has been published in Pleiades, Witness, The Common, Gay, Hobart, Bitter Melon, Wax Nine, and other outlets.
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