Maple leaves, backlit.

Two Poems by Mary B. Moore

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The Appalachian Woods Prayer

I can’t quite speak to the “I-Am-That-I-Am,”
which took voice so Moses

could hear, but here the sun
is burning the dogwood leaves flame-

white, a whole series of commas,
sidewise circumflexes,

a language of flicks
and pauses. The wind speaks

them and the beech, pin- and red-oak,
the maples whose leaf-hands flash silver

when they reverse—
oh, revere what reverses

to a different beauty—
and the feathered, irregular

conifers, spruce’s blue-black-green, white fir’s
yellower green—shaped of space

and foliage, almost all
periphery, air.

When the sky veils
itself entirely, the individual

clouds amassed,
the dogwood leaves lose their tongues

of light; the trees phase darker,
a storm’s teal

teetering on the leaves’ backs—
then light weights

them again, their unsorry
burden. I can hear the whole ridge—

shaped now that I think of it like a wing
out-spread, an earth wing—

a leaf-chorus rushing
and hushing

a whole forest speechifying
tongues and leaves:

they breathe out the air
which is prayer

I breathe.



Dear God of Weather

What’s another word for you:
awe I can and can’t

quite think, unknowing’s
cloud, virga’s hem:

In the after-rain’s tapetty-tap-tap,
where’s clarity?

See, I query threes, trinity’s
girl, seeking a mean.

You lack a middle term. Extreme’s
your modus operandi:

Clouds? You conjure
thunderheads, un-Pacific

and loud. You’re terrific.
I applaud you, tsunami,

earthquake, grandeur.
I call you you because I can’t

speak you otherwise,
who spoke us once and eye us now,

says the myth, but your word
doesn’t ward and guard.

Large, and eschewing
vowels in Moses’ time,

the better to be unspeakable—
as if namers owned the named—

you’re the I Ching’s “No blame.”
Nothing clings to you, shoulderless

tornado, walking
Charybdis, heedless

and headless. Eternal Who,
sentencing’s subject:

we’re your whom, doers
done to. How can you bear to be,

and know and not undo?
That’s why I guess you’re not

even an eye, brown,
blue, green, but vision

without a brow, all brawn.




Mary B. MooreMary B. Moore’s poetry books include Dear If, (forthcoming, Orison Books), Flicker (Dogfish Head Prize, 2016), The Book Of Snow (Cleveland State University Press, 1997), and the prize-winning chapbooks Amanda and the Man Soul and Eating the Light. Poems have appeared lately in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Gettysburg Review, Catamaran, Nelle, Terrain, Birmingham Poetry Review, Georgia Review, 32 Poems, The Nasty Woman Poet anthology, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, and more.  

Read poetry by Mary B. Moore previously appearing in two contest finalist poems and the poem “Red.”

Header photo by Jeon Sang-O, courtesy Pixabay. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.