[IN THE COLLECTED HISTORY OF LISTENING IN]
In the collected history of listening in
I’m perpetually leaning against the door,
standing in the eavesdrop of your house
and bending my ear to the pillow talk upstairs.
The eye of the needle is narrow
and the peek-space of a keyhole is slim.
You’re wearing your suit of apples,
your book’s got the broken spine in the den.
In Hundred Fields, Oregon, all the fruit goes bad.
Each time a winter pear drops, I hear you mark
the wall. With my mittened hand, I mark the snow
for every delivered bell and knock.
Around the house I walk softly, I carry a huge ice pick.
I pull my body by the lobe of its waiting ear.
Like asking for pleasure from a pincushion
I draw every blade you’ve left in the lawn.
[THERE WAS A GEM IN THE BRAIN OF THE ACORN]
There was a gem in the brain of the acorn
but the brain of the acorn was squirreled away.
Local boys drew maps of the neighborhood
and told us what to look for. Things that Want
to Be Hunted. Things that Give a Weak Feeling.
Things that Should Be Forgotten. In cul-de-sacs
we let doorbells do the work. Neighbors laughed;
the world gave up its tools. Hey, compass:
where do we go for precious things?
Both north and south, up-skirt and down-blouse.
Along the lining of a boot; inside a cat’s ear.
When dead ends end, we ask the man with two hearts
how to find the fishermen’s moon, and where
the dish goes when it skips town with the spoon.
What he gives us are Things that Tend to Disappear:
eye of hibiscus, foxglove in winter. Entire fields of air.
Jennifer Moore has poems published or forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, The Volta, Best New Poets, Barrow Street, Columbia Poetry Review and elsewhere, and criticism in Jacket2 and The Offending Adam. She holds degrees from the University of Colorado and the University of Illinois at Chicago, and currently teaches at Ohio Northern University, where she is an assistant professor of creative writing.