Two poems by Annabelle Moseley

2014 Long Island Poet of the Year

Annabelle Moseley
  • Annabelle Moseley

Planting at Your Grave

  • It is warm for November
  • and the earth is dry and brittle,
  • starved for flowers.
  • I have to claw at the grass, pull it back by the hair
  • trek back and forth to the water hose,
  • muddy the soil like a child about to make pies.
  • Your child for only ten years,
  • I am playing again;
  • I am sitting on your sun-drenched lap.
  • I bury my hands in the womb of the dirt,
  • picking through the weeds,
  • letting myself take root,
  • and all the time I feel like scratching my way down to you
  • but that thought passes
  • as I step back and see what I’ve planted—
  • purple mums and Gerber daisies.
  • Still, I want your voice, your hand, your guidance
  • I want visitation rights. But I’ll come when I’m called, Daddy.
  • Only then.
  • You should be loving this—
  • You had to force me to do yard work,
  • and here I am with rake and shovel
  • tending what I can for you.
  • Look at these purple mums and Gerber daisies
  • and see your daughter planted on your grave.
  • I am not rooted here;
  • Watch me walk into the world and live the hell out of it.
  • I am not dead.
  • Not most of me.

A Time for Silence

  • And every bursting forth rising in me,
  • each noise of joy and mourning and release
  • that clamors through my thoughts to unwind, free
  • itself of sound and drift to emptied peace
  • is now restrained, held back, suppressed. Instead,
  • this voice is breezeless; all the chimes are still.
  • Everything is mute — a winter bed
  • slept in by one — sheets cold, white as a pill.
  • This conversation has its partners, though.
  • Insight, reflection, prayer, and not least, grace
  • run warm fingers through the white-iris snow
  • that piles from my thoughts at steady pace.
  • The bold and sun-drenched streak there in the white
  • of that mute flower is the spoken light.


Annabelle Moseley served as the 2009–2010 Walt Whitman Birthplace Writer-in-Residence and was named 2014 Long Island Poet of the Year.

Her books include The Clock of the Long Now and The Fish Has Swallowed Earth. Her most recent is a double volume of poetry entitled: A Ship to Hold the World and The Marionette’s Ascent (Wiseblood Books, 2014).

Moseley is the winner of an Amy Award from Poets & Writers and a First Place Writer’s Digest Poetry Prize. Moseley is a lecturer at St. Joseph’s College and founding editor of String Poet, the online journal of poetry and music.

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