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Three by DJ Moser

What Endures

Flowing lines of marble brick and mortar
laid against collapse into namelessness
forgotten avid scribes hods decanters
of lies with hand-me-down definitions
like medication prescribed for ill winds
or burdens of proof as the defense rests
to ponder each untranslatable word
gilt syllables of incomprehension
on which to be raised to follow blindly
mumbling out hollow inadequacies
salvation in gods of our creation
who would yet have us twisted to their use
awkwardly reaching back into our prime
as space abounds with precious little time
to call a harvest now over blurred tracks
different and different weeds are fully grown
nourished by the blushing leaves of maples
trampled flat by the feet of winter snow


Pale wail of morning warning fist of dawn
each rosy finger tipped with blood we name
you artist for sculpting our bones just so
in crabby depths lapped to sleep by the ebb
and flow drawn seaward on billowing sails
our broken keel lodged in the undertow
we have slept in the sound of breaking ice
only to wake parched on a brackish shore
such is our legacy waiting glass-eyed
at the bus stop in a cold dawning rain
torn from the pillow of a warm wet night
by reason we are heir to clenched breathing
its screened-in stares pulsing to the driven
beat of possessing that carries us down
the hill in search of clover where they say
we’ll find our just desserts beyond the waste
upon our knees in earnest planting stones
that they may grow to be our effigy


Crouching in satin shade watching a moth
orbit the candle flame sighting the night
as frogs rehearse an overture to wetness
and the mounting tempest flaps the pages
fluttering lines lit by the waxen moon
that gutters in her hand to flare and die
into hissing black as the rain bears down
like cavalry slashing her cheeks splaying
her oozing foot prints in the swollen mud
a glaring clash from heaven makes her run

Death disproves nearly all he had to prove
at the time it was something she now knows
better than to pretend she understands
like dying with his boots on or walking
a mile in another’s shoes for their cause
an anthem played to splay his hand to check
his heartbeat drumming up his pride to serve
a pair of golden coins before his eyes
his silenced heart fast planted in shadow
with parenthetic years forevermore

DJ Moser teaches English in Washington, D.C.

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