[After we felled the Noble fir]

by Jennifer Moore

After we felled the Noble fir, you washed the sap from my hands. In the sink, the soap and the sap and a nest, a bed of needles. You read my future in their pattern: You’ll do this, you’ll do that. It will be this way. True, all of this happened: a pair of hands in the mirror, a gathering of dark matter. We traced the lines of pine in the white basin and left the tree outside, a cut thing.

We axed the tree and left it overnight. In the morning, its branches were traced with the evening’s weather, each needle made clear by the frost that encased it. In this way I can approach any past: shake the snow from the limbs, bring the body inside.

Somewhere further north, elk wander into the next season and pine needles bend to wind, collecting along the banks of the river. A different kind of departure: a man who locks eyes with a woman in a mirror and will not look away, or the movement through town of a hearse with no body inside.

Jennifer Moore has poems published or forthcoming in Barrow Street, Handsome, Best New Poets, Columbia Poetry Review and elsewhere, and criticism in Jacket2 and The Offending Adam. She holds degrees from the University of Colorado and the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is an assistant professor of Creative Writing at Ohio Northern University.