The medieval physician said it was in 
the spleen, Chinese medicine diagnoses 
liver, this leviathan that comes from 
deep within and threatens 

the life from which it springs. 
It moves to kidneys, gallbladder, 
spreading like an untreated cancer, 
to the pancreas, to the heart, 

to the brain. It’s as prevalent 
as breath, and I am both container and 
contained. It’s an opportunistic species,
this chronic visitor who smells like old fish. 

And it will kill.  Soft things now, and 
everything eventually. I don’t know how 
to treat the condition except to distance 
from the hotbeds, to look for those 

who are not infected and pray they 
inject an antidote of empathy in my 
veins. Or I listen to Deva Premal sing 
Hindu chants, or I read Mary Oliver,

or I walk, walk, walk the roads
and the trails and the meadows
until I have taken root
again in the soft earth of a 

forgiving mother who is so
near the end of her rope that 
any prodigal’s return is offered
the fatted calf of peace, and if I 

sit on a stump long enough and
stare at the water and stay as 
still as the heron in the distance,
I can feel the mending 
in my spleen. 

© 2020 Deb Moore, All Rights Reserved 

Hues of Anger

The Internet test said “write down the name of someone you associate with the color red.”

I put my father, of course, because everyone knows that red is angry.

Poor red.  So maligned. 

Some anger is brown. 

            Deeply rooted, earthy, quiet,

            smoldering like the bubbling brew under the Hawaiian Islands. 

Some is green. 

            Nurtured at the hands of others, growing, jealous, victim-anger.

Some is frightened, paranoid, unworthy. 


Whatever color anger – and I’ve had a rainbow – it’s definitely not all red. 

            But that’s still the color of my father. 

His anger is of the fire-engine variety. 

            Hot, spreading, fueled by anything in its path, inflicting damage. 

I click to the next screen of the Internet test.

It says, “The person you associate with red is the person you love the most.”


            I feel deep, midnight, black-like blue spill down over my head like a cracked egg

            and turn navy, then cobalt, then azure, then cornflower, then baby.  

I don’t think any anger is blue.