(A prophetess in Greek mythology cursed by Apollo 
to speak the truth but to never be believed.)

Words bombard the world 
in rapid fire 
every second. 
Another book about wizards, 
another poem about birds, 
tweets about Trump, 
status updates about dinner 
and cats 
and vacations, 
websites for anything you can think to Google.  

Godzilla porn.  
Why the Kardashians are famous.  
What a chair would look like if knees bent backwards.  

The things to read outnumber the readers. 
Still, writers write. 

In their lonely caves,
by monitor light, 
they fill terabytes of memory 
with the past and the future. 
They churn together experience and understanding 
until hardened into a vision worth writing down.  
And then they hope that someone 
is paying attention. 

But no one is, 
at least not at first. 
Journalists wrote about the Taliban before 9/11. 
Before Y2K, tech writers predicted 
a computer 
in our pockets 
more powerful than Apollo 11. 
A scientist published in 2019 
about a coming worldwide pandemic.  

No one listens until prophecies turn to floods.  
Still, writers write. 

They spew forth reams 
of poetry and prose
and essays 
and journal entries 
and investigative reports 
and sometimes just half-thoughts 
or a particularly interesting turn of phrase 
on a random Post-it note 
barely clinging to a wall for years 
until used or discarded, 
but playing on the mind of the writer 
in ways both certain 
and inscrutable. 

Half-thoughts that may never be read by another, 
but recorded anyway 
for naught but potential. 
Words newly discovered 
or characters formed in journals like pop-up books,
story lines and first-time rhymes scratched on a pad, 
then shaped in a computer, 
then offered to a first reader 
like an initial visit to a new therapist 
and waiting to hear 
whether to expand or contract, 
whether to improve or 
whether to shake the etch-a-sketch
until the lines are faint 
then wisps 
then gone, 
but if improved, 
then posted for the world to see
even if no one listens. 

Because the Post-It note held an idea that was true. 
Because the work holds the prediction of a world 
made by our own hands. 
Because when the flood comes, 
and floods always come,
words from dry land 
will be needed.  

© 2020 Deb Moore, All Rights Reserved 

How to Make An English Professor Cuss

I jumped in to help 
on our college Facebook 
page. A mother posted 
concern about her daughters, 

two of them, who don’t
like online learning,
though pandemic
college can’t be fully

face-to-face, not just
yet, and I thought I 
typed “daughters,”
but I typed “daughter,”

and some man jumped
on the thread and said,
“Daughter are? And you’re 
an English professor?

I’m not surprised.”  And
all 23 years of my career
reared up behind me 
and begged to be allowed

to respond.  They wanted
to say, “You want to go
head-to-head on grammar,
fuckbucket?  Because I’m 

down for that, you inbred
single-celled shitgibbon.”
But I was on the college
page, so I took a couple

of deep breaths and wrote,
“Thanks for the catch!” (Note
the exclamation point. It makes 
it friendlier. It’s how women

are socialized to appear
less aggressive. I would
love to see a study that
compares exclamation

point usage between women
and men, though I don’t 
really need official data.)
As I breathed through my

response, I thought 
about how common
snark has become, toxic
thrusts and parries, and

how people will throw
schoolyard taunts at
others without any 
knowledge of who

they really are.  And
I wondered how this
man would feel if I 
questioned him in a

snide manner about his
life’s work. And then I
wondered if I had ever done
just that to someone. It’s 

possible, though I don’t
recall details. So I looked
in the mirror and let that 
man go. 

© 2020 Deb Moore, All Rights Reserved