Home PageArchivesVolume no. 5Issue 2Poetry: Trey Moody

Act of Interpretation

Trey Moody

                we Sent an interpreter to See with orders to return imediately and let us know if their
                Chiefs ment to go down to See their great father

                —William Clark, 6 April 1805
to witness

where I’m
not: a problem

of location
but all the birds

that we believe
visit this country

have now returned.
As to see

is to believe
to believe is

not to see, as we
are informed of

the arrival
of the ricarra nation

on the other Side
of the river near

their old village.


Only What

Trey Moody

                the beautifull eagle, or calumet bird, so called from the circumstance of the natives
                decorating their pipe-stems with it’s plumage

                —Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, 8 April 1805
To say only
what I can
say is not

an admission
of faith
but guilt:

the only birds
that I obseved
during the winter:

a catalog to
control the
body’s limit


That Abstraction

Trey Moody

                —Meriwether Lewis, 18 April 1805
one Beaver caught
this morning
by two traps,
having a foot
in each

as weather warms
it brings
us outside,
never quite
warm enough

the traps belonged
to different
individuals, between
whom, a contest

how to settle
weather, determine
that abstract mass:
private property,
the cold

which would have
had not our timely
prevented it



Trey Moody Author PhotoTrey Moody is the author of “Thought That Nature” (Sarabande Books, 2014), selected for the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry. His poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2009, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, and Washington Square.

The italicized language in these poems is taken from “The Lewis and Clark Journals,” edited by Gary E. Moulton (University of Nebraska Press).

“Act of Interpretation,” “Only What,” and “That Abstraction” are from “Thought that Nature” by Trey Moody, published by Sarabande Books, Inc. © 2014 by Trey Moody. Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books and the author.

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