All in by Amanda Moore

by Amanda Moore

I’ve lived in three homes in this town.
In three homes, wasps
nestled my walls:

paper hives blooming wildly,
unwanted August weeds.
They burrow toward my sleeping sounds at night,

and in the day they track me,
little sentinels from door
to driveway to door again.

The Bee Man arrives,
poisons this new nest
and can only cross his fingers.

Once before they died in pools
along my porch. Another,
they chewed through the wall and writhed

in inch-thick ribbons on my bed
until death gripped them in its teeth.
Once nestled, a home cannot

cut wasps loose to life, send them flying
to wilder, wider eaves,
an abandoned house or hollow tree—

this isn’t like the mother’s body, baby
breaking womb to emerge alive
and far from what it fed upon.

The house swells with wasps
that will be carried out only by death.
I am not afraid of such evil birth.

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Amanda Moore's poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies including ZZYZVA, Cream City Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Best New Poets, and SWWIM Every Day, and she is currently a fellow at the San Francisco Writers Grotto. A high school English teacher, Amanda lives by the beach with her husband and daughter in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco. More about her work is available at http://amandapmoore.com.

by Amanda Moore

Pretend it was a different adventure:

we traveled in our Chrysler down

8 Mile Road as if in a dinghy

gliding from the bright layer cake of yacht

toward an undiscovered port. Pretend

we were prepared for the awkwardness

of being foreign, of seeking flimsy familiarity

and the perfect snapshot to send home.

We pictured white sheets and hand-holding,

new scenery and our faces changed.

But really it was like the tropics in July: sweaty

and panting, private and primal.

Paradise to one traveler is often hell for another,

so I won’t bore you with the hours passed

watching the ocean swell and retreat,

the tall grasses bend and part in the wind

and some crazy, hooting monkey pulling itself up and down

impossibly straight tree trunks.

When we left at last we had a souvenir,

a golden idol shaped by heat

and meant to be worshipped.

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Amanda Moore's poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies including ZZYZVA, Cream City Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Best New Poets, and Mamas and Papas: On the Sublime and Heartbreaking Art of Parenting, and she is the recipient of writing awards from The Writing Salon, Brush Creek Arts Foundation, and The Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. She received her MFA from Cornell University, where she served as Managing Editor for EPOCH magazine and a lecturer in the John S. Knight Writing Institute. A high school English teacher, Amanda lives by the beach with her husband and daughter in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco. More about her is at http://amandapmoore.com.