TREY MOODY.July 2022


Photo by Jeff Sirkin



Sun almost spilling from a clump of mediocre clouds—

those birds, that train know what they’re doing today.

Just two sips left in my coffee mug, morning

beginning to cohere. The pulse of last night’s cicadas quit

right when I clicked off the lamp; now, the subtle buzz

from appliances keeps this house from silence.

The backyard bamboo spring-green, my gray hoodie

matching the sky—Niedecker cautioned to Corman:

might run into weather. Sudden sun brightening

this page, I squint to see the shadow my pencil makes.

The beige blanket I’ve thrown over my feet

starting to warm: I will not sit, here, in this chair, forever.

Then a flash of the trash collector’s truck passing by.



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*** ** ***



On break in the classroom where you teach, you eat Wheat Thins,

wash them down with V8. My phone tells me

autumn in St. Paul is forgiving: the tree-lined river

idles past both kinds of ghosts we believe in. Leaves

pasted to the sidewalk, burned edges the only evidence

of seams. The poet I’m reading whispers about a lover’s hair

in a book whose flowers are too specific to be named

here, where the river is full, where one dark snake divides it.



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Have I mentioned the crow slowly approaching,

the one making harsh sounds into the air

like a crow who knows what he wants

will only come to him by complaining?

You might say I have some time on my hands.

You might say this crow could be a kind of symbol.

Bless you—that I will have to consider.

That I should think about for a while.



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Damp silence following a late-spring rainstorm.

Fireflies’ green staccato above the darkened lawn.

My small daughter, unwilling to admit she’s tired, asks

if we can catch one, wonders what we will do with it

if we can. We live in the same imperfect world, she

and I, this perfect world like the evening beneath

wrinkled sheets, this world in which we both understand

we are to die, like the firefly, like the grass, and That’s OK,

she tells me, Daddy—that’s OK. It’s supposed to rain

again tomorrow. Maybe it won’t. Overturned

on the table, the empty jar between us, its held air

swollen with what could have been our words.



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I’m at the counter, studying my plastic menu.

The older gentleman beside me has been taking plenty of his time

to cut from a sausage patty the precise, exquisite triangle

he just forked into his mouth. The delicacy of the praying mantis

comes to mind, and he looks my way as though about to say

something profound. I lower my menu. I am open

when his gaze returns to his plate, where a thick slice

of buttered toast lies soaked in yolk. Clearly, this

is important work he’s been doing, quiet and intense

and alone. Like one of those statues made to look ancient,

surrounded by plants at the hotel pool.



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*** ** ***



Hello, my name is cloudy, but I am telling my own story

because, really, who else could tell it? Wonderful—

now that you are here, I would like to begin, but first

I must ensure that you are comfortable: would you care

for a cup of tea? Perhaps a lightweight sweater? Maybe

a last-minute run to the restroom? Don’t worry,

I will still be here, because my story needs to be told.

At this point, I assume you never left, or I assume

you have returned, and I assume you are ready—more ready

than you ever remember feeling—to hear a story.

I was born when people talked about the weather.

Then I died when people talked about the weather.



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Trey Moody
was born in San Antonio, Texas. His first book, Thought That Nature (Sarabande Books, 2014), won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, and his more recent poems have appeared in The Atlantic, The Believer, and New England Review. He teaches at Creighton University and lives with his daughter in Omaha, Nebraska.


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July 2022.TREY MOODY