Volume 14 • Number 2 • Fall-Winter 2022-2023

George Moore

Country Without Borders

the darker blue of the very deep
in liquid states of being

living things living in the sea
borderless in constant currents

without waiting for officials
waiting for word from above

lost in space
in a glass building

a stain on paper
penetrates the walls

no foreign names
in such heavy space

A border then is not a sea
reflection on an unclean glass

a surface you cannot cross
a country becomes a wave

sail meeting with sails
hand-held to a line

an open regatta

In a Time of Crisis

This is our catastrophe now
familiar as a glass of milk

a door off its hinges
a window blown open

continents breaking up
into little islands

each the map of a hand
playing dead as others die

the serpent in our blood
eyes bright with imaginary fire

cautions against wishes
wishes against caution

in the television landmines
on the computer deafness

the world turns in directions
unforeseen unfavorable

until we break free
close the gap between

islands adrift
enemies in our sleep

and our common survival
familiar as a glass of milk

At Seventy

for D. Dewhurst

Night ink-edged blue over the gessoed canvas of Utah
and at seventy I raced straight into the storm

snow-blind and swirls of desert ghosts
haunting the empty highway desert blackhole

The last gas station outside Vernal
its yellowish light on washed out asphalt

waves farewell traveler have a safe trip
high dive the edge and suddenly emptiness

Then on the hospital steps the Great Salt Lake
you enjoy a cigarette the oxygen tank shut off

staff swirling by like snow trying to drift
into something a wall a storm another stretch of desert

opens into nothing keeps opening drive all night
something pushes me faster and backward all at once

a beer in your hand ten years before
waiting for someone to say we’re here

nothing changes and at seventy the night drive
is nearly all I remember

those headlights cutting the darkness
a last cigarette and flying to the moon

distance gives way to the light

Getting Away

Living among rocks and weeds
to guard against wisdom.

Jack Gilbert, “Between Aging and Old”

A serious young man in high school
the thought crossed my mind of raising sheep

for eternity for that was the nature of the game
at seventeen and all else was hogwash or poppycock

my mother’s terms for the limitless
But the dream survived somewhere in the Highlands

in one of those cinematic landscapes of fog and stone
the simpler life a friend and I agreed

was the better beyond the edges of a growing city
where all were destined to think to be

between sunrises and sunsets
watched over by an ancient tribe of sheep

an unfinished dream never cluttered with wreckage
Yet now I see things that were then invisible

the bourgeois simplicity of being without need
the countryless when their country is carved up by war

the boats on a broken and angry sea
that would settle for a settlement on an icy shore

I see between the lines of my own poetry
the other lines that bleed

and get away with it because I will not sleep
and the sheep have gone astray

George Moore’s poetry has been published in Poetry, Colorado Review, The Atlantic, Orion, and Stand. His recent collections are Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015) and Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle 2016). After years teaching with the University of Colorado, Boulder, he now lives on the south shore of Nova Scotia.