George Moore

How to Handle a Rattlesnake


Gently, with a reverence for the long history laid out before you.

Reach only so far as you can yourself strike. Extend your body

outward, into the universe. Remember the hunger that knows only itself.

Evolve away from words into a world before their hollow was filled.

Carry a pail with a lid that does not fit tightly,

carry it through tall grass and over naked, rocky terrain.

Speak then of your feat without exaggeration. Confess

to the poison of myth, to a belief in dangling ropes,

to all the other realities that circle the world. See the thin trail

you share now in a momentary liquid of time. Watch

where you step. Catching is easier than letting go.

George Moore’s poetry collections include Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry, 2015), The Hermits of Dingle (FutureCycle, 2013), and the forthcoming Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle, 2016). His poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, North American Review, Poetry, and recently in Arc, Fiddlehead, and the Antigonish Review in Canada. After a career teaching at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he now lives with his wife on the south shore of Nova Scotia.



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