Love in the Ruins
I remember my mother toward the end,
folding the tablecloth after dinner
as if it were the flag
of a country that no longer existed,
but once had ruled the world.
7 A.M. and the barefoot man
leaves his lover's house
to go back to his basement room
across the alley. I nod hello,
continuing to pick
the first small daffodils
which just yesterday began to bloom.
Helicopter flies overhead
reminding me of that old war
where one friend lost his life,
one his mind,
and one came back happy
to be missing only an unnecessary finger.
I vow to write five poems today,
look down and see a crow
rising into thick snow on 5th Avenue
as if pulled by invisible strings,
there is only one to go.
another winter: my black stocking cap,
my mismatched gloves,
my suspicious, chilly heart.
Copyright © 2014 Jim Moore. This poem originally appeared in Underground: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2014). Used with permission of the author.