Moon at First Quarter
I helped myself to some Cookies N' Cream ice cream. My roommate, Jessica,
smiled and jumped onto the couch next to me. "Share!" she cried.
Jessica and I met in college. We'd shared a dorm all four years, and
when we'd graduated, we decided to live in an apartment together until we
each found the men of our dreams, got married, and moved out. Of course,
if all went according to plan, by then we'd both be rich and famous.
I set the half- pint on the cushion between us, and Jessica dug a spoon
into it. One of our rules for living together was that we shared
everything related to food.
"Hwy dio weh huv thuh?" Jessica asked with her mouth full of ice
cream. In the entire six years we'd been living together, I'd only seen
Jessica swallow her food before talking once, and that had been during a
double date. Luckily, I've figured out how to understand what she was
saying. She'd asked, "Why do we have this?"
It was a fair question. Although both Jessica and I lived on ice
cream, I very rarely bought anything fancy, and to two girls living on what
we made at part- time jobs, Cookies N' Cream was fancy. Usually all we had
were tubs of vanilla, and maybe some chocolate syrup to pour over it.
"I'm celebrating!" I announced.
"Did you sell some poems for lots of money?" Jessica cried. I've
always had aspirations of being a poet. Mostly, all I could do was write
little verses for local businesses, such as, "Shop at Bett's Vests/They're
the best!" I hoped to someday write real poems, but so far I hadn't been
able to get any published.
"No," I said. "Not yet. But there is a book publisher willing to
look over my work, and I'm going to meet with him next week!"
"That is good news," Jessica said before shoving another spoonful of ice
cream into her mouth. "Leh muh reah ofur yo poh befoh theh."
Jessica wanted to read over my poems before then. She'd always read
over my poems and critiqued them, and I knew she would know exactly what to
look for. After all, while my major had been creative writing, she'd gone
to college to learn how to be a teacher, so she knew what professionals
"It just so happens, I've already put together a notebook of the
poems I plan to show them," I said, jumping up off the couch. While I
bounced to the notebook I'd left lying on the kitchen counter, Jessica
tried to keep the ice cream from tipping over onto the couch.
I returned and handed my notebook to Jessica, and stood by proudly
while she read it over.
She quickly read the first one in there, which I'd titled "Love." It
wasn't my best work, but I felt I should include it anyway, because it was
one of the few poems in which I rhymed. It went like this:
I love you
I want to tell you
I want to, but I'm not right now
(Not telling you, that is
Not "I'm not in love with you"
Because I am.
That's why I'm writing this poem.)
I should tell you I love you
That I should do
Maybe some day
You'll feel the same way
Or maybe you don't
Maybe you won't
But I hope you do
Feel that way too
I want to run into your arms, I do
I want to kiss you
I want you to screw me
I want to screw you for all eternity
(Not in the bad way
Like when you say, "I'm screwed."
In the good way)
Tell me you love me.
"Well," Jessica said. "To begin with, find something other than 'do'
that rhymes with 'you,' because you used those words too often. And in
some places it rhymes, then it randomly stops rhyming, then it rhymes
"Well, I thought I'd distinguish the words in the parentheses by not
rhyming them," I said defensively, even though I knew she was right. The
truth was, I didn't really like rhyming, and I hadn't wanted to think of
things that rhymed with all those words.
"And what's with the whole screwing thing at the end?" Jessica asked.
"Look," I said. "You can't judge all the poems in there by that one.
Read 'Huntress,' it's the next poem in there."
Prowling through the night
The moon glistens on the streets
I swiftly, softly hunt
I'm looking for my prey
I'm looking for you
I see you
Graceful as a cat
Silent as a hawk
Swift as a cheetah
I am close to you
I want to posses you
Like a lover, I wrap my arms around you
I give you the kiss of death
You are mine
"Raechal, this reads like it was written by a vampire," said Jessica.
With that comment, I decided Jessica knew me too well to be an
unbiased critique of my poetry. I've always liked reading stories about
vampires, and she always claimed that my best work was what I wrote right
after reading the stories.
"So what if it is about vampires?" I asked. "That doesn't mean you
have to be a fan of vampires to appreciate the poem."
"It's certainly better than the first one," Jessica said. "Still, I
hope you only included a few like this."
I snatched away the notebook and blushed. "Aha!" Jessica cried. "So
that's why you included that awful love poem! It's the only one you've
written that's not about vampires."
"That's not true!" I cried with my cheeks burning. "There are some
poems about ghosts and one about feeling like someone is always watching
Jessica made a face and said, "Look, Raechal. I'm telling you this
as a friend. You have to write about something other than the supernatural
if you ever want to be a professional poet."
"I know," I said. "But you said yourself, the vampire poem was much
better than the love poem."
"You just need to fall in love," said Jessica, rising to put the
melted ice cream into a trashbag that didn't have a can. "Speaking of
which, I think I know a guy who you'd like."
"Really?" I asked. "Do I know him?"
"I think you may have met him," Jessica said. "He was the best man
at my sister's wedding."
I tried to think of who the best man had been, but I couldn't picture
the face. The truth was, I'd spent the entire wedding hitting on Jessica's
cousin, not realizing he was already engaged. "I don't know what he looks
like," I said.
"Well, then it'll be a blind date," Jessica said. "He's my sister's
husband's brother. I don't know if that makes him my brother-in-law or
not, but he's really nice, and I know for a fact he's single."
While the idea of going on a date with a new guy sounded nice, I
wasn't quite sure. Jessica had a tendency to set me up with the most
boring men in the universe. Once, I'd spent an entire evening listening to
a tax accountant explain to me the difference between some tax laws I
didn't really understand. Another time, I'd gone to a restaurant with a
kindergarten teacher who insisted on treating me like I was one of his
"He's an astronomer," Jessica told me as if she could read my mind.
"So, he's one of those people who can tell the future by looking at
the stars?" I asked. I'd never had much faith in horoscopes, but my mother
had read them religiously when I'd been young.
"No, that's an astrologer," Jessica said. "Isaac is an astronomer.
He looks at stars and charts the flights of comets and stuff. Or at least,
that's what normal astronomers do. I think he just teaches astronomy at
"I don't know," I said. "Looking at stars and comets and stuff
sounds kind of boring."
"Come on," Jessica begged. "I bet you'll like him. Just go on one
date, it'll be fun."
"Alright," I said with a sigh. "But if I don't like him, I'm dumping
him. I'm not going to be nice just because he's your distant brother-in-
"You don't have to worry about that, because I know you'll love him,"
Jessica said with a smile.