The Sound I'll Make

when I meet the devil will break the backs of bees. I'll say, Let the clatter come,
and it will be so. A dragged leg's rasp, a scrabbling rodent, a roiling kettle
of buzzards ready to gorge and preen. A bite through fruit skin, my brother's
window opened, the ocean in a lightning whelk flung across the morning.
Hound muzzle digging in fur, tongue at new wound, and down the avenue
sewers flood, churn, spill airplane bottles, doll heads, and dominoes.
Snap of linen on the line—sprung firmament. Spine against bleached
cement, rose rashes spreading, irresistible scratch. Suck of tar at ungulate foot,
the pavement split, a neighbor child in the sandbox belly, raking to the Orient.
Swing of scythes in lawn sculptures, gravel under gator heels, the clicking spin
of fan blades, slicing pruning shears, crackling toe joints and twigs, birled logs
down the pile, a mile of starlings muttering to themselves. But no sound
summoned will match the cat-gut strings, the singing claws, the horse's hair aflame.
Voice of my flesh crying up from the ground: a beat as soft as the beast himself.


Something Like Belief

I call you with black doves, but no rain comes.
My voice is brittle as a bare tree against the sun.
When you sent the ark sailing over mountains,
the waters were heavens to the drowned below.
You may find me wicked yet.
You may find me any minute.
I see your face at night on the ceiling:
fluorescent halo left by a lamp extinguished.
The animal in my chest lopes through dry grasses.
It is neither fowl nor cattle nor creeping thing.
I wouldn't call it clean.
Even you regret, regretted our making.
Your shadow leaves a trench in the pavement,
and no one listens when I speak your name.
Listen. At last,
the horses gallop on the dappled roof.
My hand in yours—blue flame.
How easy to recoil.
I remain, and their hoof-falls fill my skull.
They are proof, or a cold front passing through.
A day gone, and a day coming, knocking.
Shall I let the vagrant in and feed him?
I have nothing to give. I give him the horses:
dripping manes, cool muzzles,
and the gallons of air in each lung.



Lauren Moseley is a recipient of an artist's grant from the Money for Women / Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Arts & Letters, Best New Poets 2009, Cimarron Review, The Greensboro Review, and Lumina. Her poetry reviews can be found in The Los Angeles Review, Pleiades, and storySouth. She works at Algonquin Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.