Yellow Wood

Those roads diverging
are everything.
The simple question
followed by a 
thought experiment,
as if my inner
all-knowing eye could
look fully down each path.

And then a choice. A or B
You could choose A.  
Go to A’s college and work
at A’s career and marry
A’s lover. Have A’s children,
invest with A’s money,
retire at A’s time. 
And maybe wonder, 
wonder always
where B would have led. 

The small religious college,
not the ivy-trimmed degree. 
The elusive career
discovered too late to
climb the same ladders.
The relationships and the
miscarriage and the should-
have-started-earlier 401k. 
That’s where B led. That’s 
the road taken. 

And from the bench I rest
upon halfway, maybe more, 
down B’s path, I think of A. 
I always see it neatly trimmed, 
all downhill. Maybe there’s even
a bike. But there is 
no you.  And  you
are everything. 

© 2021 Deborah E. Moore, All Rights Reserved

This Morning

This morning, curled around
 the back side of you,
 face against shoulder blade,
 the smell of your warmth
 mingling with my breath,
 the familiarity moved me. 
 I wrote lines about it in my head,
 though none return now as naturally
 as they rose from the ashes of sleep.
 The cat saw I was awake
 and climbed my body
 to haunch under my chin.
 You roused, looked at me with narrow
 sleepy eyes.  My fingers slid along your arm. 
 “Hands cold,” you mumbled. I
 pulled the covers to your shoulder and
 caressed the parts of quilt now shaped like 
 you, but the dogs had heard us,
 and they whined and pawed the crate door.
 So I arose and set the day in motion,
 took the dogs out, fed them,
 opened the blinds, started coffee,
 checked the weather, dressed.
 Soon you are up, and thus we begin
 another day we will live together.  Granddaddy 
 used to say, “Everything gets over with.”  
 And I know this will too.  One day.  
 But not today. This morning started 
 with the smell of you, and what will someday end 
 was today everything I could count on. 

 © 2021 Deborah E. Moore, All Rights Reserved 

Exposition of a Modern Time

I’ve read this book.  
I can’t remember who wrote it.
King? Atwood? Orwell?  
If the three of them could 
have a love child
(surely possible in
this narrative),
and if that love child
wrote a book,
this would be it. 

A dystopian future
complete with a virus,
an insurrection, 
fearless mobs, 
cages of children,
knees on necks,
conspiracy theories behind each,
families divided
like the blue and the grey.

I lived 55 years in a dormant
volcano, mistaking quiet for death. 
What needs to be sacrificed to
the gods to put them back
to sleep? Whom should we throw
from the ridge?

We don’t even talk about the
“new normal” anymore.  
It’s passé.
We make adjustments
that may be permanent
Who knows? 
We hang on  
to shards of hope. 
A vaccine. 
An inauguration. 
A miracle. 
Garden hoses 
aimed at rapids
of lava.

Each climax, the 
narrative arcs up
again. Chapter
after chapter of 
rising action, new
inciting incidents, still 
more characters. 

I need John to smoke a doobie
and bring the revelations.
I need denouement. 
I need the movie rights sold
and that film to stay in the can. 
I need a final chapter, 
loose ends tied up
in neat little bows.  

They lived 
happily ever after.  

That was the
ending they promised
us in the seventies.
In the middle-class seventies.
In the white middle-class seventies. 
Wars and epidemics and despots
lived only in history books and 
countries with jungles.  
They never told us we 
were children living 
on the blank page
between chapters.

I’ve read this book, 
but I’m only now living
this story. 
I don’t recommend it
right before 

© 2021 Deborah E. Moore, All Rights Reserved