Two Poems by Mary B. Moore

Meanwhile the Mountain

The ridge hovers,

its long, prone torso

concealing the lay of the land beyond, 

a floating wall. Meanwhile,

the news wars. The crow on the roof 

caws. Maybe he says “Go Buddy!” 

to the crow who taps 

a walnut shell on the driveway. 

Open, each half is segmented

by papery chamber-walls, 

a heart; the nut, a wooden brain.  

The crows, smart birds, enjoy the best 

organ meats. Meanwhile, the humid air 

is becoming water,

beads of sky that bead

catalpa and paper-birch leaves—

large plates for a light meal.

Who’s eating, who’s eaten?

Meanwhile the mountain behind me

has got my back, I like to think.

I imperil me, not soldiers charging

from the rear. I think

the little blind cloud, migraine,

and its aura of blurs

appears. I think my daughter’s lupus

can wolf her down

and mother wolf can’t howl it away.

And my dear friend’s cancer,

tumors’ blind potatoes,

terrible moons in the womb’s night.

Meanwhile, the mountain is

absolute presence—is, was, will be.

Only earth itself can move it.

The crows call from it. 

We must climb it someday 

to see the crows at home,

beaking their stick and nail

tools, aligning them,

so they can eat more thinking 

from the bowls of broken hearts.  

The mountain whose name is Meanwhile

is also called Endure.


Michael's Mountain

The wooded ridge ascends just blocks from here

like a slightly sloping castle wall, 

but the tree-tops’ bumps and kinks are too chaotic 

to be Medieval battlements’

crenellations and merlons.

The gray-and-white Percheron

I saw grazing a clearing there,

I lately can’t find when I look. 


Calm and sweet-natured

battle horse, strong to bear 

the well armored knight:

you are noble in all the ways.  

Did I tell you I carry

the name of God’s mother?  

Her sanctity is not my burden,

though I do love a good shade of blue

hooding the mountain. 

Some days the mountain is a wing, 

so large it could be an archangel’s

if there were any—Michael, 

Defender of the Church, warrior 

enough for the Percheron.

A reiki practitioner once told me 

she sensed the saint’s presence,

an aura around me, an arch

of wings. Maybe he can defend

my faithlessness from the mountain.

Mary B. Moore’s books include Dear If (Orison Books, 2022), Flicker (Broadkill River Press, 2016), and The Book of Snow (Cleveland State UP, 1997). She’s received awards lately for poems from Nelle, Nimrod, Terrain, and Asheville Poetry Review, and has poems published in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, 32 Poems, Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Catamaran, and more. A native Californian with a Ph.D. in Renaissance poetry and prose, she taught poetry, Shakespeare and writing at Marshall University. She is married to the philosopher, John Vielkind. They live in Huntington West Virginia with Seamus Heaney, the cat.  She has one daughter, an attorney, in Northern California.