If I Could See You in the Moon’s Face
by Jonathan Yungkans

if I left my porch light on
chances are you wouldn’t
see it like the one at San
Luis Rey where each night
the padres hoisted a lantern

into a cupola over the church
meant as beacon and star
like one that led the Wise Men
still I can’t help but wear
a path in stairs and lawn

down the side of my century-
old house along what might
have once been a horse trail
paved but narrow for cars
where coyotes and skunks

wander for fruit or scraps
barely lighted more than
what the moon gives to see
just your foot and ground
nor can I help but want

the moon’s face to be yours
from the dark impossible
I know but some habits
stay deep as bones and rocks
old trails and dead of night

IMAGE: “Mission San Luis Rey bell tower” by Jean Booth. Prints available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Without going into a lot of details, a long-distance relationship is literally insane, especially when neither of you has the funds to see the other. Virtual goes only so far and sooner or later one or both of you can seem more ghost than human. It’s only the beauty and grace of the other person that keeps you going. Mission San Luis Rey is located near Oceanside, California. It is the only one of the 21 Spanish missions with a cupola like the one mentioned in the poem, meant for wandering travelers to find sanctuary and rest—something that seemed to parallel the feelings I mentioned earlier. I live across the street from Whittier College in a house built in 1913 and rumored to have been constructed as the president’s house for that school.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jonathan Yungkans is a Los-Angeles-based poet, writer and photographer. Growing up in Gardena, California, not far from the Pacific Ocean and at the time still predominantly Japanese-American, left him with three things—an intense love for the sea, a deep appreciation for cultures other than his own, and the outlook (and resulting questions) of an outsider aware that he didn’t quite fit into his surroundings. Subsequent years as an ESL teacher and a publications editor for a multi-cultural Christian ministry only added to the latter two of these. His works have appeared in Poet Lore, Poetry/LA, Twisted Vine Literary Journal,  and other publications.