Category Archives: moores hill songs

the detached

they came hungry
whining at the door
just above the pitch of the wind
in the spring and in the fall
in the evening
you could almost pretend you didn’t hear them at all

they came during the change in days
dragging bellies
stubborn or tired
with them, there is usually no way to tell which

they came with palms upturned
eyes rolled back into their skull
shivering and shy
because the porch light was on
and the scent of our daily routine
revealed us to them

i let them in
and fed them my bread
when it was convenient
i loved them
but they passed away like a snowfall
leaving me with the foggy, opalescent grief
of the detached

Moores Hill
March, 2014


to own and to be owned

this place will come to own you
it will do so with
a mailbox
a debt
a picnic
a violent act
a bonfire
a hard winter
a gentle spring

you will exist here as a stranger until the year
kevin nods
at the hardware store
kenneth scrapes
the ice from your driveway
william drags
her remains out of traffic

you call the postman
at the bank
calls you by name
not the new name you’ve taken
but the old name your mother called you by
the name on your driver’s license

sharon planted
the black-eyed susans that bloom again and again
christopher planted
the vegetables anew this year
each year he sinks further
into the clay
his metal fasteners rusting
his component parts
across the landscape
by the wind
and the animals

Moores Hill
March, 2014

a small house

the house is small
up on the crest of a long, low ridge
overlooking the county road
once it stood
for time travel
now it represents
simply my desire to be forgotten

the house is small
everything inside is crooked
patched poorly by each previous occupant
cracks in the foundation
the porch leans
the windows leak

the house is small
but the grounds are expansive
there is a roll to the land
every year birds build
their houses in the eaves
for their children

we will have no children in ours
by choice
as if anything ever was a choice

Moores Hill
June, 2014

there was a great burning

we tore down the old tobacco barn
made piles of the old siding and those massive posts
used some of it to build the new carport
the rest rotted
the bottommost layers turning into dirt
food for termites

we’d always intended to do something with the wood
but the pile became a burden to us
a home to vermin
choked with weeds
shelter for wasps, ticks and worse

this weekend there was a great burning
of all those old intentions
the rotted siding and the great posts
stained with mold
went into the fire

Moores Hill
June, 2014

snows recede

snows recede
leaving behind hidden garbage
equipment broken by winter
projects left undone when the cold came on
litter unlocking itself from the ice
the first real flowers of spring

old men with plastic bags
stalk the ditches of the county roads
they are picking up the thrown beer cans
and soggy mcdonald’s bags

on the edges of anonymous fields it remains
until the bramble covers it again
to await the next snowfall

Moores Hill
March, 2014

the lost kite

i was twenty when i had the dream
one of those strong dreams that becomes a memory
so this is also the story of something that actually happened

the details are crisp like the temperature of the new spring air
like the crunch of the broken and dried corn stalks
in the windy field where we walked

she was with me, my twin
who had always been so close to me
alike in looks and temperament

i drove us in my ancient red chevy van
to the field across the street from the house we grew up in
the field where we flew kites in the spring of our childhood
the closest thing to a point of origin that i can identify for anything

and of course we brought a kite with us
one of those plastic grocery store kites that always breaks
there was a static charge in the air
a smell of ozone
some great decision delayed for the moment

i played the string out
and she launched the kite into the air
with a hop and a laugh
the only sound either of us made that I can remember

that is the clearest last image I have of my twin sister
she had the same crooked smile
hair the same lengthy, noncommittal blonde
the same lines of worry between hazel eyes
that stayed around even when she was happy
she was beautiful

the kite flew well and we watched it, taking turns
making it swing and dive
playing out the line as far as it could go
we stayed out a long time

i remember a squeeze of my hand and
her white dress, blurry, disappearing behind the corner of the van
the string, loosed from its plastic mooring
floating up and away
the kite receding

i never saw her again
i woke up sobbing
i mourned for days

twenty years ago now she left me alone
in the field of my childhood
just like that

i tried not to resent the loss
but i went ahead and changed
i grew out my beard
possibly out of spite
possibly i hated her a little

recently, she began showing up again
like nothing ever happened
just like that
that is another way in which we are alike

i saw her around town on my ordinary errands
i glimpsed her once in the display case at the grocery store
she was watching me from the window of the moores hill gas station
she darted away when i approached

and now she has finally found my home
i encountered her in the field behind the blackberry bushes.
she’s older now but still looks just like me
i asked her to come inside and she followed me in
she just hangs around in the kitchen
she hasn’t spoken yet

i have no idea what she wants from me

Moores Hill
June, 2014

advice for future occupants

no corner is square
you cannot count on that in your plans
measure everything twice
learn how to cheat out to make it look OK
fruit flies like to get into one of the bathroom sink drains
you can knock them back with bleach
but they will return
the space above one of the front porch posts is sheltered from the wind
each year in the spring swallows build their nest in that spot
please let them
there is so much wind, it will try to destroy everything you’ve made
so nail it all down
when the combines bring in the beans from the field, mice arrive
keep a cat around
cats will come to you in the winter from the barn down the road
you will not be able to take them all in
that pile of old plastic and metal junk that is out behind the swamp
will always be there
just let the weeds cover it, hopefully it will disappear in time
the people will not welcome you when you arrive
with covered dishes and cookies
the best you can hope for
is amused detachment
wave at them when you take your evening walk
smile for them – signal clearly that you are only a harmless eccentric
of no harm to anyone
there is a little clear space in the woods on the north side of the property
where nobody can see you
if you ever need a place to cry
you will never, ever finish mowing the lawn no matter how hard you try
just let part of it grow and tell everyone that it is a habitat for birds and butterflies
in the winter, the windows are drafty
you should fix the weather stripping
but you won’t
there is definitely a skunk living up in the woods
and wasps multiply everywhere in the early fall
so watch out
on certain humid nights
millions of tiny beetles will swarm the windows
because they love the light
some of them will get inside

Moores Hill
October, 2014