Julie L. Moore


We walk past gravestones of the unknown,
Up the path, up the hill, to find
Thoreau, Alcott, Hawthorne, and Emerson.

Pinecones and pebbles, even a letter,
Adorn Thoreau's grave like flowers.
My daughter snaps pictures of me,  

My warm hand resting on his cold stone,
Repercussions of his reflections
Reverberating beneath my ribs.

Behind us, on a bench,
Out of the blue like a thrush’s tune,
A man reads aloud my t-shirt

Declaring, "I cabin Thoreau,"
Asks like a congenial host,
Where we live, where I teach, why we visit.

Then we stumble, together, upon discovery:
He knows our small Ohio town,
My obscure, religious school, his ex-wife a graduate,  

And lo and behold, he is Thoreau—
Re-enactor for the Concord Museum—
Pronouncing the name  

"Thorough" like everyone else in Concord
(The rest of America says it wrong),
Revealing that Emerson noted his friend's name

Fit his character like a calling,
Like a voice in sync with the rhythm of life,
For he was a "thorough fellow."


With all dear Emma's little faults, she is an excellent creature . . . . [S]he has qualities which may be trusted; she will never lead anyone really wrong . . .

                — Jane Austen, Emma

If Aristotle is right and we are
what we repeatedly do, or Annie Dillard,
and how we spend our days 

is how we spend our lives
, then let me
spend each moment like Emma,
my neighbor's yellow Lab,

who greets me, every time I walk along the road
in front of her yard, with hospitality,
running up to the invisible fence between her

and me, holding in her teeth her blue bowl
as if to announce, Look what I've got!
tail wagging, body expressing 

the same exuberance of a child
welcoming her birthday,
as if she's a balloon about ready to pop.

That’s what I'm talking about:  Verve.
Combined with time to stick one's nose
into all the business

of the earth. Smell those roses.

Julie L. Moore is the author of Slipping Out of Bloom, forthcoming from WordTech Editions, and the chapbook, Election Day (Finishing Line Press). Nominated in 2008 for a Pushcart Prize, Moore has contributed poetry to Alaska Quarterly Review, Atlanta Review, Briar Cliff Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Cider Press Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Cimarron Review, Dogwood, Free Lunch, The MacGuffin, Sou'wester, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and many others. Moore directs the Writing Center at Cedarville University in Ohio. Her website is http://www.julielmoore.com.



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