Home PageArchivesVolume no. 6Issue 2Poetry: Jennifer Moore

[You be the canary, I’ll be the coal]

by Jennifer Moore

You be the canary, I’ll be the coal. In this scenario
the canary has nothing to say; its feathers
become less yellow. The mine yawns. It opens
and closes on dark. What the coal says, goes,

but the feathers want their yellow back. They yell
for it. They yell for it. The yawn returns and closes
on the light. Yellow can speak for itself. The mine
closes on the bird, but regrets its own methodical dark.

When you say you’ll be the tar, I say I’ll play the pit.
What the pit wants, the pit gets. When I say
you’re me, you say I’m you. Rubber, glue.
When the canary croons, it doesn’t croon for you.

The bird clings to its yellow, but under dark
you become coal, not mine, and the coal has nothing
to say. The coal has nothing to say. What’s yours
is mine and mine is yours. You the coal, the canary me.




[Under the willow tree]

by Jennifer Moore

Under the willow tree, willow tree, willow tree
a toad has swallowed the green green fog
The fog has swallowed the mossy shore
The green toad’s swallowed the key to my door

Under the willow tree, sleep flies away
the mossy shore swallows the green green wood
In fields full of foxglove, the ladies can’t be heard
In fields full of fog, a key closed an open door

Things that can be seen from a boat:
a boy with a hoop, a girl with a yo-yo
the river that slows, the shore that slips away
a dove who cries, who flutters when blind

What to look for in sleep: Things that Lie in Relation
to Each Other, Things that are Diminished
in Description, Things that Give a Soft Feeling

The willow tree the willow tree the willow tree




[Of the unopened book]

by Jennifer Moore

Of the unopened book: lean forward, bend back,
then break the tight spine. There’s a shiver.
Run a thumb along the length of its grain.
Without sex, there’s allegory. In this scenario,

the ass and the swallow share a yard. They circle
each other, parting grass with toe and snout.
The swallow says to the ass, Fight yawn with yawn.
Ass to swallow: Lick the inside of your own beak.

What does the trick’s what I say to myself: Curl the toe,
then finger the curl.
Blindfolded, I quiet down—
if you cover the eyes of the dove, she won’t flutter.
Like a good celibate, I ride the cymbal high. I ride it

side saddle, then split into astride. To fill a gap /
insert the thing that caused it. So I take thumb from mouth;
the swallow sings to spit, then spit sings to swallow.
What does the trick’s what the trick does to herself.




[In the space of time it takes]

by Jennifer Moore

In the space of time it takes for an eyelash to grow
I hitched my wagon to a star and took off.
Easting and westing, northing and southing,
I toured the silver ruins of an all-night sky.

Past the controlled burn of the meteor,
past Wynken and Nod’s little shoe—
but the orbit slows; my wagon’s star drops.
I miss the sea, how it rids itself of noise:

the spray of the great blue whale, the white-
tipped notes passed from Water to Air.
I remember how the golden broom grows
on the beaches, how the beaches are blown bare.

Back and forth, and back and forth, the broom
plays a game with the land all day—it’s called
Turn Aside, then Charm, then Draw Away.
For four players: Sand, Wind, Ocean, and Sky.


Jennifer Moore Author PhotoJennifer Moore is the author of “The Veronica Maneuver” (The University of Akron Press) and “What the Spigot Said” (High5 Press). Poems have appeared in “American Letters & Commentary,” “Best New Poets,” “Columbia Poetry Review,” and elsewhere. A native of the Seattle area, Jennifer is an assistant professor of creative writing at Ohio Northern University.

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