Three Poems

The Weight of Light, Easter Snow, and Katniss
Three poems by Julie L. Moore

The Weight of Light

~for Alice

You know what you’ve always known. The weight of light, the worth of
thorns. How cottonwood trees shed their seeds in tufts of fleece, then
wait for rain’s nascent sign. You see what it means. You sense on your
skin, your spine, the deep design at work, at play, the way a cello’s chords
diminish & ascend. You have a gift. You worry not about your lot in life,
your shoes, your clothes, how the markets coalesce or crash. You test the
spirits in the myrtle by the drive & gave up finding meaning in a broken
piece of glass. You know the difference between a pound of flesh & angels
in disguise & diagnose chronic ills in the sediment of lies. You can tell
you’re out of place but rooted nonetheless, so you prophesy anise stars in
the body politic. Dressed in lily-splendor on the axis of what matters, your
hands like mine are made from clay. Though we cannot clasp the robe of
God in storm or surrender, you now reveal with flourish your one sure

Easter Snow

May it fall, though it has fallen
 many times before. May it
land upon the downy heads
 of dogs in the yard, cows in the field,
& chickens squawking
 outside their coop. May it
dissolve on tongues of children
 walking to school & arrive
like a prophecy fulfilling itself
 on the shoulders of factory workers
in a line stretching out the door,
 as they take long drags from their Pall Mall’s
or talk to their spouses on their phones
 & wait to punch the clock.
May it alight like the soft tap
 of dust we are made from
on the backs of cable guys & cops,
 plumbers & professors, nurses
& engineers heading to jobs
 in this common hour, toting
coffee they brewed themselves,
 complaining about the weather.
May it anoint the foreheads of the home-
 less on the streets, trans sons & daughters
disowned & alone, single parents heading out
 to buy food with coupons from S.N.A.P.,
remind them that God sits with us
 on the cold stones of our need
beneath the sky shedding its glory
 piece by piece,
& ease the yoke convincing us
 to walk the earth like Marley’s ghost
forever doing penance.
 Something else is in sight.
Look: these fragile flurries
 voice their language in an opalescent
code, which you & I & anyone
 can decipher, can know.

Ode to Katniss
 ~with a line from Charles Dickens

She is everything her name invokes,
and none of it at all, this Golden Lab
hopping onto my lap, leaning
her plush ears and wet nose
into my face, then sniffing my lips
as though something meaty or sweet
lies there for her to lick. Bred for service,
named for the heroine you already know,
incarnating yes, both hunger and games,
she is a fabulous flunky, they say,
one who didn’t make the cut
but beloved all the same. So here she sits,
as the tree, adorned with ornaments
from my previous life, drizzles
nostalgia over the room with its light.
And the ceramic church nearby,
once wound, tinkles its bells to the tune
of Come to the Church by the Wildwood,
reminding me of my aunt who made it
long before Alzheimer’s struck.
What if, I wonder, Katniss harbors
within her fur her own kind of advent,
akin to adoration’s glow and the tawny
joy of her simple, animal name—dog,
etymology a great mystery of English,
trinity of letters, half-palindrome
at play like she is with her favorite toys?
She rises from the foot of the bed, after all,
when my dreams grow into screams,
then sends ripples of peace across my face
as she lathers it with love.
I realize it sounds impossible,
but what if at Christmas, just as its mighty
Founder was a child himself
, this dog
sheds hope everywhere she goes?

About the Author

Julie Moore

Thanks in no small part to attending a summer poetry workshop with Jeff Gundy back in 2005 as a beginning poet, Julie L. Moore not only learned she shared the Mennonite commitment to social justice but also improved in her craft. Since then, Moore has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize seven times, and she’s published four poetry collections, including, most recently, Full Worm Moon, which won a 2018 Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award and received honorable mention for the Conference on Christianity and Literature's 2018 Book of the Year Award. Her poetry has likewise appeared in African American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Christian Century, Image, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. She is the Writing Center Director at Taylor University, where she is the poetry editor for Relief Journal. Learn more about her work at julielmoore.com.