• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 11

Strawberry Pink Moon and the Red Coat

Since that night, whenever
full moon glows reddish pink
no matter my real age,
I am once again seven
dancing into the kitchen
still wearing my red coat,
back from my first ballet lesson.
I’d seen the Moon from the car and
want to tell my Dad about it
and show him the dance steps
I’d learned that night.
He is seated at the kitchen table,
one hand’s fingers clutching
a sheaf of papers
the other hand’s fingers
drumming a sad rhythm
on the Formica tabletop.
As we come in, instead
of greeting us, he shouts,
mostly to himself,
“All these bills!”
I want to pirouette into the kitchen
invite Dad to look at the moon,
but mother holds me back.
I want him to marvel with me at how
moon is the same color as my coat,


Strawberry Pink Moon and the Red Coat

“Your father is busy now,”
she whispers, then sits down
with Dad.
I slip silently out the back door,
step out into the yard.
I hear Dad tell her,  
“We can’t afford her dance lessons
anymore – lots of things
we can’t afford anymore.”
I leap from the last
back porch step onto the grass,
sad because my father
can’t enjoy the pink/red moon
so like my red coat, or peer
over the stack of bills to watch
me do my new dance steps.
Moon smiles down and so
I pirouette and twirl, point my toes
in a dance recital for moon and stars,
dancing to my own rhythm,
not the staccato of my father’s
worried drumming fingers.
I want to tell Dad not to worry
about my lessons —
that I am content to
dance under the moon
especially when the moon matches
my red coat.


Strawberry Pink Moon and the Red Coat

Even now, although
that coat is long gone,
when moon is pink,
I recall that night and often,
I slip out of the house
and dance for the moon
and for my father.