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SHJ Issue 7
Spring 2013

[Two Poems]

by Jill Moses

Richmond Avenue

I sit next to my brother on the wicker couch on the sun porch
a sock monkey on my lap.
There are 9 windows, the light of the late afternoon 
streams in with the luster of glowing cream.  
The edges of the windows, cracked paint peeling, closed
except for the one held open 
by my can of pick-up sticks.
It is the perfect height to let in the salt air.
I want to play with my game so I pull on it 
with my right hand and the window 
slams shut on four fingers of my left hand.
My thumb is safe but I’m in shock by the abrupt slam.  
Inside, a scream wants to form 
and I think it does—
My father runs to me 
lifts the window and admonishes me.
What I don’t know is that this is the last time that my father 
will rescue me. That he will move deep inside of me
where the scream lives and he will stay there
still like a frozen lake or unmoving 
like my brother and the sock monkey, 
or this old photo, left and forgotten on the couch.  
And I will always pull at things, hoping to get what’s mine.


A Teacher’s Lament on Spring

It is the second day of March
and I smell daffodils in the air (too direct)  
Okay, the essence of daffodils
permeates the air. (permeates is too many syllables and is too pretentious)
The essence of daffodils takes over (or dominates?) the air (nice use of 
Or maybe the essence of daffodils captures the air (so is the air a prisoner 
The essence of daffodils captures the air the way you captured my heart. 
(now we’re getting to the meat of it, but who is “you”?)
(Back to dominates. I like the alliteration.)
The essence of daffodils dominates the air. (Forget you.)  
I walk with the lonely sound of a bird’s song (what kind of bird is it? 
Be specific. And what sort of sound? Is it a chirp, a shrill, a whistle, or a 
repetitive toot?)
I walk with the repetitive toot of a sparrow’s song. (Maybe this is too 
I walk alone with the sparrow’s song
The essence of daffodils dominates the air,
lingers and is gone like you, love. (too melodramatic).
Let’s start over:
It is the second day of March
And I smell daffodils and hear a bird’s song
It is Spring and my love is gone. 

—Previously published in Eclipse


SHJ Issue 7
Spring 2013

Jill Moses

earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon, where she received the graduate award in poetry and served as assistant poetry editor of the Northwest Review. Her awards include the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, and honorable mentions through the Lane Literary Guild, the Chester H. Jones National Poetry Competition, and the Passaic Community College Poetry Center.

Her poems have appeared in literary journals such as Onthebus, Timberline Magazine, Pacifica, Sculpture Gardens Review, and Tsunami; and in the anthologies, New Los Angeles Poets (Bombshelter Press), Magee Park Poets [Friends of the Carlsbad Library], A Gathering of Poets (Kent State University Press), and Eclipse.

Currently, she serves on the board of California Poets in the Schools, an organization that brings poets into classrooms K-12.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury