by Julie L. Moore
The wild has come to your door:
A buck with a rack elaborate as a labyrinth
Curving into dead ends.
Approaching the road you drive on.
Considering, perhaps, the lilies of the field
Across the way. Threatening
To bolt, hurl his heavy heart
Onto your hood. And he stands there,
Staring at you
As you pass by,
Turning your head toward him
Like he’s called you by name,
A name you had long since forgotten
And can’t believe he knows.
by Julie L. Moore
I have so many scars,
I gave up on vitamin E long ago,
I tell my daughter after my laparoscopy.
She suggested we could bond
by applying the greasy ointment to our skin
together—her to her knee, dislocated
last summer, her surgery leaving behind a scar
that looks like a purple worm,
and me to the three hyphens on my abdomen.
But I’ve had many operations—
I feel like the Titanic
sinking while the crew throws things
overboard—appendix, ovary, gall bladder—
organ after organ tossed into the sea
of my mortality. Sometimes, I imagine
they adapt to their new surroundings,
sprouting fins, morphing vessels into gills,
swimming onto shore. And I wonder
if they’ll meet me there someday, hopefully far
from now, along with heart and mind and soul,
having formed by then, hands for me to hold.
You’re laughing, I bet, in stitches even,
at the notion of fins on an ovary, gills on the gall
bladder, and those preposterous hands. But admit it:
You’d like something or someone to meet you there, too,
pull you up from the sand in that strange
and solitary land. For you sense
your new appendage, though entirely
unexpected—is it evolving even now?—
might be fear.
Julie L. Moore’s chapbook, Election Day, was published in
2006 by Finishing Line Press (and is accessible at amazon.com).
Recently, her book, Slipping Out of Bloom, was selected as a
finalist in Carnegie Mellon University Press’s Poetry Series, and
she was a finalist in the 2007 poetry contest sponsored by Many
Mountains Moving. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming
in many publications, including Sou’Wester, The MacGuffin, The
Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Willow Review, River Oak Review,
Flint Hills Review, The Christian Century, The Christian
Science Monitor, and Christianity and Literature. Moore is an
assistant fiction editor for The Antioch Review and lives in
Cedarville, Ohio, where she directs the Writing Center at Cedarville
One morning last year, heading home to prepare for work after
dropping off my kids at school, amid the rush of such routine,
a gorgeous buck approached the road. We are no strangers to
deer in Ohio, not even bucks, but this one was magnificent in
terms of his presence. He seemed to hallow the ground he stood
on as well as the moment in which I drove. But it wasn’t just
something vaguely transcendent. The moment was personalized
despite, or perhaps, in conjunction with, the threat he posed.
Somehow, a reminder of God.
Several months after I published a chapbook exploring a
lengthy period of intense, personal suffering, my daughter had
knee surgery, and my gall bladder went haywire. My family
kept teasing me about how I should write a poem about losing
my gall bladder. I refused, just to spite them (and to prove to
myself that I could write about a different topic!). But one day,
my teenaged daughter joked that we could form a deeper
mother-daughter bond by rubbing vitamin E on both our
surgical scars. My answer to her taunted me, ended up in my
moleskin—then in the first lines of the poem. Insisting on being
written—and true to its name—the poem just “evolved” from
that point on.
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 3, Number 1
Copyright © 2008
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors