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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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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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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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