Diane Lee Moomey

Apple Cider, Applejack

Buy Pippins, Russets, Northern Spy; use green
glass demijohns; assemble corks and tubes,
and with a wooden press express the juice.
Stir well, then pasteurize and taste: sweet!
Remember the pedigreed yeast! measure, heat
to just the right degree, translate your brew
to bottles underneath a waxing moon,
then taste and wait. Your cider will be queen.

Or, buy a mongrel gallon—set it, cap
askew, on countertop where new-bought bread
and cheese exhale their warmth, where berries, red
and blue, keep company with juices wrapped
in tepid air. The second way creates
a different nectar. You only need to wait.

Hens, North of Toronto

The mailbox on the corner's broken free—
its bolts are sheared, the metal bent away—
with legs askew, it slides across the street
upon its back. An empty street is glazed
with sudden ice, is filling with debris
that's whirled by turncoat wind from off the Lake.
"You ought to stay in town tonight" she cries.
"The henhouse door is open", I reply.

This morning, warm and gold, I'd fed the hens
and, fooled by forecasts, left their door ajar—
oh, just a couple hours to visit friends
in town, have lunch. No need to take the car—
I'd time to meet the bus at driveway's end,
to read a book, embellish my memoirs.
But as we lifted glasses of bordeaux
the street beside our window filled with snow.

By the time dessert arrived, that weather
settled in. I see the brooding boxes
full of straw, one per hen, their nether
corners open to the wind; see foxes
coming to investigate, see feathers
bloody in the snow. "It's three o'clock," says
she, "come stay with us—by candlelight!"
"No one will be coming home tonight."

Traffic lights are blinking yellow. Bitter
wind, Edward Hopper street, then objects
loom, sudden—my bus disturbs the litter
curbside. (The papers said a window flexed
from out its frame that day, smashed to glitter
where I'd stood.) I'm seated now, vexed:
sunny posters of vacationers, mellow!
We're behind the snowplow, flashing yellow.

Eventually, my lane—the borderline
of town and country. Driver downshifts,
we're skidding, sliding, stopping. Both doors whine
and open, driver frowns at all the drifts.
"You sure you'll be okay?" "Oh, yeah, I'm fine—
the dog is here to meet me." Six legs lift
and fall, beside the field where fireflies,
asleep, endure. Snow's above my thighs

and wets my leggings. Be alive, alive
don't let me find your feathers in the snow!
One, two, three, four, five?
A darkness underneath the trees—shadow
of a fox? Eleven, eleven: be alive.
Now, open door. I step inside. Although
I fear to find the still, cold breasts,
the broken eggs and bloody-feathered nests,

I plunge my hand into the silent dark
and find eleven feathered, beating hearts.


Diane Lee Moomey is a painter and poet living in Half Moon Bay, California, where she is co-host of the monthly reading series, Coastside Poetry; her work has appeared in Light, Think, The MacGuffin, PoetryMagazine.com, Mezzo Cammin, and others. She has won prizes for her sonnets in the Ina Coolbrith Circle and in the Soul Making Keats Literary Contests. Her newest collection, the chapbook Make For Higher Ground, is available at Amazon and at www.barefootmuse.com.


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The latest addition to the Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Database is Rachel Wetzsteon by Patricia Behrens. The Poetry by the Sea Conference is scheduled next year from May 21-24.

Maureen Alsop:I often create visual art as a memorialization to the closure of a written work. However, many of these visual pieces arrived as a trajectory while writing a larger 'work-in-progress.' The text within the visual poems do not speak to the content of the larger work but are autonomous, acting as bridge between the written and visual bodies. The original text draws upon ghosts in the hall of battles. It is a glittering solar analemma, an unattested revolution, an infinity reflected in ellipses, omissions, and disintegration. A full collection representing many of these images came to fruition recently in Tender to Empress (Wet Cement Press). Yet the act of creating from text continues, as the digital collages here also include newer works based on miscellaneous notes, old emails, and most recently a short story, "The Unnamed Woman of Mary River" (forthcoming at South Dakota Review). The title to these are based on cargo ships which I pass on my daily commute from island to mainland. These small cities of people, afloat for weeks on end out at sea, are a looming story that embarks and disembarks in my imagination.

The visual poems are crafted under the mechanics of "Écriture Féminine," literally "women's writing." These principals advance a feminine perspective. I write from parallels, cyclical slips through stream of conscious and fragmentary processes. The writing exists as rough erotic. As talisman. Interpersonal in their ruptures and syntax, soft in their discomforts; a splintered narrative. Through writing, I can go anywhere and never be found.

32 Poems
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