by Ellen Roberts Young


Wasn’t the moon the earliest calendar?

Plants tell you when to harvest;

the moon told you when to plant.

Some calendars show moon phases 

as a minor matter, in the corners


of white squares stacked

into months, paged into years,

days boxed, squaring the circular 

path of tilting earth, its shifting cloak 

of sky that makes each day different.  


Night, whether long or short, 

is reduced to a bar, straight

as a sidewalk between grass

and street, no place to note

an appointment with sleep.


Heartless as clocks, calendars

flatten life: doctor appointments

equal to hairdresser, lunch date,

a night at the opera, your 

granddaughter’s wedding—


she whose mere existence

is a truer measure of time.