The Moon’s an Arrant Thief

by | March 27, 2022

“I was the shadow of the waxwing slain

By the false azure in the windowpane;

I was the smudge of ashen fluff – and I

Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky.”

            – Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire


the moon’s an arrant thief                                                         


on the longest night a pale fire

lights the room of the dead making

ghosts of us.


they sang in my ear,

ancient tongues, yearning

your place is empty!               !جاى شما خالى است

i filled

the mould

with my grubby

reflection        and yours


and i stole the sun to make flowers of it,

red admirals to dip in the water,

a bathtub of roses and dusks.


and i captured a tear-

stained flash, unblinking

mise en abyme, melting

statues into

waxworks into

shadows, haunting

pale fires of past moons.


and they thought me mad

with whispers like ash,

i breathed them in until they were mine

and i breathed in god until he was mine


and in boundless Creation i lost my years

puppeteering overgrown ivy,

dead kings dancing in Versailles,

dust crystallised.


and i was the pious hostess


heavenly until gate-

crashing chariots swarm,

phantom preachers burning battle lines to

death’s dawn                                 طلوع مرگ

so bright it is almost black, blazing


churchyards        and steel



i was the bird deceived and dead.


and they thought me mad

when i died to let my shadow live


Words by Bahar Ganjvar. Art by Dowon Jung.