Mary Moore

The Haze Has Dominion

The sky you used to drink, clear blue,
has whitened, and haze has dominion.
The heat is eating into the foliage
and thickens the air with moist smoke.
Immobile, the trees are washed 
in the astonishment of their own slow
combustion, hooded and dressed
in the wool of a mother’s smothering love.  
You think you are thinking the view and being 
its bastion, its salience.  But the air 
melts away distinction;  you blur
into trees, the silted pond near the barn,
the haze.  You too are immersed
in the slow fire of dissolution,
in earth’s merciless love.



for Diane

The hard rain smokes and blurs
the woods and the stones
of the windowless house 
not fifty feet away.  Moss furs the stones’
undercurves, like green smiles.
No bigger than my bedroom
but roofless, it holds leaves, stems, 
shadow tree boles 
like trees made only of shadow.  

The world whispers and trickles. 
My hair frizzes up.
We can smell leaf-mulch 
and woodsmoke, the trees’ 
resin and musk.

Two nights back, on a ridge through a space 
between trees, we saw the full moon
light other ridgelines, and closer,
moon-shadow trees elongated
on the grass. Diane took us where 
she and her gone friends
Nick once stood, smoking, 
laughing, telling stories on each other,
to each other and the moon.
She feels him in the veils 
of rain, in the woods and stones.
The world is porous with story.

From down the hollow now come
two children’s cries, whether 
of pleasure or pain I can’t tell.
The rain stops.  The leaves keep 
talking, click, tap, whisper, passing 
the rain from the top of the canopy,
lower and lower, to the under-
leaves, the understories, where it reaches
the oak saplings no bigger than
pencils, and the new pines,
their needles so fine they look like blurred
stars, tufts of green smoke.  
It rains under the trees for hours
after the rain has stopped.


Mary Moore's new chapbook, Eating the Light, was selected by Allison Joseph for Sable Books 2016 Chapbook Contest, and her second full-length manuscript, Flicker, won the 2016 Dogfish Head Poetry Award, judged by Carol Frost, Jan Beatty and Baron Wormser. Individual poems are due to appear in the Georgia Review and Poem/Memoir/Story, and poems during the last few years have been published in Birmingham Poetry Review, Cider Press Review Best of Volume 16, Drunken Boat, and Nimrod. Besides earlier publications in Poetry, Field, and Prairie Schooner, her first full-length collection, The Book of Snow, was published by Cleveland State University in 1997. She has several chapbooks in circulation.


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