Issue #8 November 2016
Detail from Deer Playing Hide n Seek with Sparrow by Tim Frisch

Jennifer Moore

Wyoming Poem II

Against my better judgment
I am spending the day indoors, ignoring a mule deer
in favor of watching the wall.

Its paper is amusing; tiny spurs and tiny saddles
surrounded by a border of rope.
In my head, I have a seven-letter word
and nowhere to play it.

Outside, a sad cottonwood;
the grackle scoots down its spindly branch.
Easy does it, bird. We’ve got all day.

I imagine the man herding sheep is a shepherd,
but that seems absurd in 2016.
I refuse to get up until I finish this game.

A wasp knocks at the door,
then another bangs against the window.

I made this for you, friend,
staring off into space—

but despite writing as fast as I can
the mule deer disappears into the wall,
trailing a tail of decorative rope.

Wyoming Poem IV

The coffeepot’s empty and then it’s full. Then it’s empty again.
This goes on for several days.

A wild turkey struts across the lawn. A yellow bird
dies against the window, then a rabbit settles into the grass.
In July, every sentence is a declarative sentence.

What else? Coffee grinders, canoes. This chair, for instance,
creaking back and forth.

I picture a rancher
getting down on all fours
to inspect a piece of machinery

but I feel like the weakest vocabulary,
barely able to put two sentences together—
yet here we are! And here language is,
riding a mechanical bull:

Saddlestring, Recluse, Muddy Gap!
Ten Sleep, Osage! Lookout:
the Bighorn Mountains,

the Bighorn Mountains,
a crowd of clouds that won’t disperse.

Wyoming Poem V

We walk into the river, settle into our tubes,
and maneuver downstream. There are rapids, there are shallows,

there are rapidly approaching shallows.

At the antique store, molds for dolls’ heads.
Rusted doll molds for ceramic doll heads.
“Goosebumps” is putting it lightly.

They are like fossilized fish, eyeless and mute,
lined up like tintypes of the dead.

It’s a luxury to sit in a private room
all day & only be expected to write,
says my mother.

I don’t know if Wyomingites (that’s right)
have a word for the antelope
strung up on a barb-wire fence,
its ribcage spread wide, five bones

pointing at the watcher—
I am at once guilty and innocent.