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Knucklehead Moon
Not Even a Bit Bright

7:15 A.M., Tuesday, 7/18/17 Hawthorne-Midthorne Park, on the East Bank of Middle River

The two ex-boxers, one older than the next, had come here to this shaded place to exercise.

The asphalt lane meandered along the riverbank, between mature with oak, large trees grown just enough to retard grass growth to a slowly renewing carpet.

The entire sky was a haze of shuttering cloud, not banked, not billowy, but rather curtains of hazing mist, gray in the morning glow.

Just where the sun should be, hung the morning moon, its round face marked with the very blotched seas neither of the grunts could name.

“Is that the moon or the sun?” said the small one.

“It’s the moon. It’s perfectly round. We must be facing south,” opined the big one, squinting under the visor of his cap.

“Yeah, I didn’t see the moon last night. It must be rising late—but where’s the sun? I thought that was the east,” queried the little one.

“So did I,” drawled the big one, “but look at it, it’s got the markings. I’m looking right into it, and it’s not even a bit bright.”

They donned their fencing masks and for ten minutes the clack of sticks and the rap of struck glove and mask disturbed the adolescent squirrels scampering about.

Taking off their masks to wipe their brows, they both turned to regard the moon again and were nearly blinded as three curtains of cloud, one blotchy, separated and the yellow sun glared down. Shaking their heads, they replaced their masks and began stalking and striking with their puny weapons under the mighty sun, sure that the world would make more sense after a few more contested minutes.

The Punishing Art

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