David Moody


In the rented backyard fires were lit
openly and often, high on pallets

beneath orange pine needles, gasoline
before and gasoline during, a place
for disposing of box frames, junk mail.

Somewhere in the kitchen with its four-
burner stove, a wood-burning stove,

toaster and toaster oven, matches
waited to be struck. If it could boil down,
soon it was used. If it could fry up, soon

it was used. Only the house dog licked
at open flame as we collected blowdown

cedar for kindling, we basic humans
descended from humans with no pelage,
no easy heat. We learned what phone books

and Bibles have in common. Different pages
in different books each burn in common

time. What we knew, we learned it from
that house, from that town, its people
sleeping in sin and with little else. We

forgave a lot and forgot the rumors,
waiting to discover a simpler warmth.


Yet sometimes Monday
mornings, sometimes December,
sometimes amid a bus route’s curve
or the coffee bar routine,
I choose to fall in love
with you who are near
blowing at a cup
or walking in the distance
that voiceless collie
or tying a shoe, laces
so fickle, or sitting,
just sitting,
not looking or lost.
However long allowed,
however long you’re here,
I will love you
and the distant world
as a friend returning, arms
full of color and bread
loaves, story—
things that are less owned
than what is borrowed
from a neighbor,
one who when I walk by
and the dog is gone, the trashcan
empty but for a coffee cup, gestures
You are welcome over anytime.
When a bus rolls on
to find its other stops,
I return again, fingers
touching pockets,
looking for a pen
to sign a thank you card,
one way to say you are remembered,
and like always it is,
and you are there.

Author Portrait

David Antonio Moody is a writing instructor in downtown Phoenix and production editor for The Cortland Review. Recipient of a 2014 AWP Intro Journals Award, his recent poetry appears in Ghost Ocean, Carolina Quarterly, Breakwater Review, and Columbia Review. He completed his doctorate at Florida State University where he performed in the Jack Haskin "Flying High" Circus.