Published on Academy of American Poets (

Love in the Ruins

          I remember my mother toward the end,

folding the tablecloth after dinner
          so carefully,
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,
          and already
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.



Jim Moore

Jim Moore was born on June 22, 1943, in Decatur, Illinois. He began writing in the mid-1960s and received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota and his master’s degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His poetry collections include Underground: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2014), Invisible Strings (Graywolf Press, 2011), and Lightning at Dinner (Graywolf Press, 2005).

Date Published: 2018-06-06

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