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poem: summer moon

summer moon rises late:
the waning crescent carries
tomorrow’s morning

It used to be, before clocks, that people could tell time at night by being aware of the phase of the moon. The lighted part of the moon always points toward the sun — as an easy example, a full moon rises opposite to the setting sun, is at its highest point at midnight, and sets at sunrise.

One night, after a hot day, we had stayed up quite late waiting for it to be cool enough to go for a dog walk. As we walked, I noticed the crescent moon rising in the east, a thick curve with upturned points, and I realized that meant the rising sun was trailing  not so many hours behind it. And the light I was seeing in that crescent was actually tomorrow morning’s sunlight, already giving a hint of the new day’s coming heat.

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