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 

I Should Get Out More

(Written on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2017)

I should get out more,

Walk the woods like William Wordsworth or Robert Frost or Mary Oliver,

Watch nature more closely,

Learn the names of trees and the songs of birds.


I should feel cold more, or hot.

It won’t kill me.

I should get sand in my shoes

and mosquito bites and poison ivy.

I should walk in the woods more.


I should stand next to water more,

a riverbank, a lakeside, a sea shore.

I should skip more stones

and make more ripples.

I should not be afraid of those who live there,

the frogs, the turtles, the fish.

I should dip my toe in and make friends of the natives.


I should buy a kayak

and change my lifestyle

so that it becomes the kind of lifestyle

conducive to kayaks.


I should pass no sunny hours in candlelit rooms with blinds closed

sitting at a desk writing poetry.

I should take full advantage of beautiful days,

follow roads that short of the decision to take them would remain not taken.

I should choose differently, trading this thing I love for that thing I love.

I should live differently.

I should get out more.