June Moon

Don’t rhyme “June” with “spoon,”

unless maybe it’s one

that’s bent back & tarred black,

nor “moon” with “June”

unless you mean the bug big

as a car now battering my screen.

“Soon” also is suspect.

Expect it to be the same

as when pairing “breath”

with “death” in a previous line–

the poem had better

have depth in infinite fathom

& the rhyme, at least

one reason for being

besides the chime. Time is not

on your side, friend.

The end is too near to waste

even one unstressed beat

on a repeat of anything.


Yes, it will take some work.

Wait, do I hear you complain?

So you impressed yourself

slant-rhyming “duende”

with “pudendum,” but look—

already been done

& more than one time. Ditto

for subbing in “dog”

for its reverse rhyme, “God.”

It’s true both are dead

so far as I know, but—never mind.

The point not to repeat

a tired trope. The point is to hope

things will be better or different

—at least try to make language new—

I triple-God dare you.

Rebecca Foust’s seventh book, ONLY (Four Way Books 2022) earned a starred review in Publishers Weekly and was featured on the Academy of American Poets 2022 Fall Books List. Her poems, published widely in journals including The Common, Narrative, POETRY, Ploughshares, and Southern Review, won the 2023 New Ohio Review prize and were runner-up for the 2022 Missouri Review Editors Prize.