Miles David Moore

A Lesson from a Tooth

You learn the wages of gluttony
for candy and cookies when you are six,
but also the meaning of love:
the one who stays beside you into the night,
placing slivers of ice on a baby tooth,
those shards the only thing between you
and screaming agony.
                                    The tooth will be pulled
in the morning, but this is still night.
The shadows on the wall are blobs of pain
contorting with the spasms in your jaw,
and all that spares you are the icy spoon,
the gentle hand and face.

In the rushed journey between six and sixty
you hope you have learned more lessons
than a rotted tooth can teach you,
but above all you hope, through all the shadows,
you have done something one-thousandth as good
as sitting at a bedside through the night,
offering your heart, spoon by spoon.

Nothing Stops

Along the street, it cartwheels into sight
In stiff October wind. Dime-flat and gray
As bus exhaust, is it a baby’s kite
Or someone’s fast-food box from yesterday?
You only know that tires worked overtime
To fashion such a wafer. In a whirl
Of waltzing leaves and sparkling front-porch chime,
You see it closely: oh my God, a squirrel!

And nothing stops. A guy in denim yawns,
Strides past, looks at his watch. A leaf blower roars
Its thoughtless lust for leaves across the lawns.

Great oaks will grow from the forgotten stores
Of this cadaver in full autumn sail,
Still ruddered by a froufrou fluff of tail.

Miles David Moore is the author of four collections of poems: The Bears of Paris (Word Works, 1995), Buddha Isn’t Laughing (Argonne House Press, 1999), and Rollercoaster (Word Works, 2004). His latest book, Man on Terrace with Wine, is scheduled to be published by Kelsay Books in early 2021. A retired journalist, he reviews films for the online arts magazine Scene4. From 1994 to 2017, he hosted the IOTA poetry reading series in Arlington, Va.



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