Today's poem is by Thorpe Moeckel


Worrying the snow that goes
sunstruck from magnolia, bright
while squirrel claws oak's gray
edge, I scratch my carrot nose,
cinch my coat against the warmth. What
I need is what I fear: to learn
not to melt, not to freeze too hard.

Crow lands on my head and bellows
in that awful voice of his—such fright!—
"If you bleed water, say,
and my blood is the blood of shadows,
then what do you weep, what—
winter's purple?" "No," I squeak, seeing farmer
aim. "Crow blood, of being so forward."

Warmth makes me and warmth undoes.
So while it's possible, I court
the shadows—what other way?—
all that's flat: the sun's lows,
inversions of smoke. Still, to sit
shrinking, my inside feels reborn,
as if body was breath and centered.

Who shivers touches me, who grows
plants that blossom at night,
licks metal, and on a frigid day
runs naked, inhaling to whistle. Whose
favorite color is ice and favorite
shape is round, yes, who rides the Northern,
prefers the drowned over the charred.

The land doesn't speak to me; it knows
I'm what it says. Dusklight,
water's ways—it could be May;
I'm going, going fast. Such prose
warmth is. Earlier the child gave me fat
strands of ivy for locks. Then wonder,
that whiteness, tied them in a braid.

Warm sun again; I'm slick with flows.
Always, in such thaws, I grow polite
remembering rivers. Odor of clay,
cedar, root—this branching, towards rose,
stone, where motion—elegant bat—
is stillness, and elsewhere
worry's wind: will, surrendered.

Three parts, none the same—potatoes,
that easy. Child packed me tight,
knew stains made me pure: hay,
muck, leaf, coal for eyes, a nose.
No winter brain, not that:
she began with a flake, added one more,
then another, and so on, outward.

Copyright © 2003 Thorpe Moeckel All rights reserved
from Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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