poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

“For several years I’ve been writing 100-word pieces.  More recently I’ve been putting them together in groups of two and three. I don’t see them as sequences, but rather as companion pieces, the way that diptychs often work. The idea comes originally from the paintings of Michael Venezia who places blocks of painted wood next to each other. Proximity is a godsend. The quote is from Wallace Stevens.”
Jim Moore

Diptych: My Bracelet

1

Before going to bed I take off my bracelet. It is meant to protect me. A dancer gave it to me: for decades she has known sorrow and beauty. Beloveds have come and gone. Mountains and forest fires. Lives that might have lived through her, but didn’t. Lives that do still live through her. I go to sleep, protected by her love, even though now my wrist is naked. All of you who have lived with the mysterious succession of love and grief, of dogs and dances, of yoga and tears: all of you will know just what I mean.


2

There is sunlight and a staircase ending at the sky. There are electrical wires, a black cable. Then the sound of the train going away. There is my bracelet made of jasper that Peggy made for me. The river and the sweetness of going down to the river. There is all that darkness rushing under the arches of the old stone bridge. The waiting darkness. The patience. There is the going away: let’s get that straight once and for all. And the new waitress, her hand shaking, the tattoo pulsing at her neck, “And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.”
 

Copyright © 2015 by Jim Moore. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Jim Moore. Used with permission of the author.

Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Jim Moore was born on June 22, 1943, in Decatur, Illinois. He began writing in the mid-1960s and received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota and his master’s degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His poetry collections include Underground: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2014), Invisible Strings (Graywolf Press, 2011), and Lightning at Dinner (Graywolf Press, 2005).

by this poet

poem
this being unnoticed. Sitting like this
           next to the stone lamb outside the Cathedral.
My lost soul, which prefers the stone lamb
           to the living God. Prefers these deep shadows
to the summer day. The way he took me
           all those years ago, shattered me
so that fifty-seven years later, I
poem

1
          I remember my mother toward the end,

folding the tablecloth after dinner
          so carefully,
as if it were the flag
          of a country that no longer existed,
but once had ruled the world.

 

2
          7 A.M. and the barefoot man

leaves his

poem

for my mother on her birthday

     Somewhere at this very moment someone is eating peanut butter right out of the jar! He is alone and the television is off. His mother has no idea what he is doing. It is his secret. Very far away a dog barks, a horn honks. The day his grandmother died he had a crazy