This, Too

A friend posted a meme on 
Facebook that directed us scrollers
to choose one from a grid of twelve.  
Options included items like:
          Being Able to Travel Anywhere Instantly
          Having the Largest Social Media Following in the World
          Being the Reigning Monarch of a Medium-Sized But Wealthy Country
          Winning a Five Hundred Million Dollar PowerBall. 
The option I chose was near the top of the list, 
and I knew it was my choice 
before I even read the others.  
          Pick Any Age to Be Forever. 
The age part wasn’t so important.  
          Twenty-five had been nice.
          Forty had redeeming moments.
          This age I am now, I have no quarrel with. 
No, the part that was important was
If I could be immortal 
and still a decent human being, 
like a
          fasting vampire 
then I could make all the choices.  
I could go back to school at
          87 to study architecture and then again at 
          142 to become a classical musician and
          309 to finally master quadratic equations. 
I could watch nations rise and fall and rise again.  
I could live in every country 
for a year or ten or as long as I want.
I could actually read every book on my shelf. 
I could 
          tango in Buenos Aires,
          can can in Paris,
          flamenco in Barcelona. 
Vampires live such interesting lives. 
I would take a version of that, 
          less tartare.
But it was just a meme,
and selecting one wish from a list
doesn’t make it come true,
so my options are limited.
My fresh starts aren’t infinite. 
The choices I’ve already made
came with consequences. 
I can’t live long enough to 
ease the remorse of poor decisions
learn to avoid them altogether 
(a lesson obviously requiring 
a longer curriculum than 
one human 
If I could live forever, 
I might learn how
          to love you, 
          clear and clean,
          an endless supply
          without condition
          or renewal fees
          to not ever 
          leave you behind
         or alone
         or aghast
          to hold on
          as if this
          was our 
as it is, 
my choices have
sometimes driven a stake 
through your heart. 
          And mine.  
I won’t live 
long enough to learn how 
to make them right.  
I may not even
I needed to try.  
The immortal hope - 
living through to perfection. 
The only mortal one -  
faulty, messy, 
honest love. 

© 2020 Deborah E. Moore, All Rights Reserved


Civility War

It’s an evil snake that crawls 
between us and takes up the 
space we didn’t know existed,
that turns you left, me right, 
with our guns pointed at 
him, at it, at each other. 

It’s a vicious smoke that rises
into our nostrils, fills our lungs with
free-based gratification, makes 
us high on self-righteousness. We
exhale noxious fumes into faces
we say we love.

It’s a vile ideology that turns us
on each other, makes an up seem 
down, makes a fall seem elevating,
sends us packing, locked and loaded
brother on brother, sister on sister.

Haven’t we been here? Haven’t we turned
on each other before? Haven’t we gassed
and lynched and nailed to crosses those
we decided to hate? Is this a never-
ending war we’ve all agreed to wage?

And now I feel the snake against my skin,
the toke in my lungs, the rhetoric in my
brain like pinballs of sound bites, and I
wonder if doing justice and loving mercy
can ever be simultaneous acts. 

It’s one thing to agree not to spit on your
brother. It’s another altogether to agree
not to spit on the one who spits on your

It’s yet another still to balance the
world on your back while you learn
to walk humbly with your god. 

© 2020 Deborah E. Moore, All Rights Reserved

To White Men

(On the occasion of the 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate 
between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence)

I don’t hate you.  My father was one of 
you. He, with his tense jaw and strong
grasp meant for affection but delivered 
in pain. He whose presence commanded

attention when he spoke. Though I had
six more years of education, two degrees
more, I listened patiently when he explained the
themes of Thoreau’s writing. Me, expressionless,

when he persisted in pronouncing it THOR-ee-o. 
Me, silent, waiting until my next class to unload
the corrections on unsuspecting sophomores. 
He, who threw the blinker light of his 

motorcycle against the back wall of the garage
in rage when it broke from the bike he had
instructed me to hold while he retrieved 
his forgotten wallet. Me, 10 years small,

not quite made to kickstand a Kawasaki. Me, 
watching in terror as the center of gravity shifted
away from my spindly arms. Me, watching it fall,
the bike and his anger, with a rush of hot wind.

Me, wanting to say, “you’re the Einstein who 
thought 65 pounds could hold 400 at center,” but 
I would never dare.  Wouldn’t even admit I 
was thinking it for at least two decades. 

He, whose anger was quick and sharp, but 
his raised backhand never landed, only 
threatened. That was enough. He, the one 
who told first-grade me to tell those sixth-grade 

boys that my daddy was as big as King 
Kong and they better leave me alone, but 
he could have just been on time to pick me 
up instead. And 

you, who look so much like him, wearing
your assistant managership like a crown, 
interrupting me when I’m speaking, as if I
was never speaking.  You, who have never 

moved through your world afraid, always 
afraid. You, claiming you see women as
equal because you have no comprehension 
of the depth of your ignorance. You, holding

a toothpick and lecturing a druidic priestess
on forestry.  You, the one not forced 
to smile, the writer of rules not the follower,
the interrupter and talkoverer and ignorer of

anything not you. I don’t hate you. To hate you,
I would have to start with him, and I love 
him.  Like a beaten dog still needing to eat, 
I love him. I don’t have to love you (thank

god), but I am able to not hate you. 
Because of him. 
In spite of yourselves. 

and him.  

© 2020 Deborah E. Moore, All Rights Reserved