OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 3

Jennifer Moore

The Body As Divining Rod

                        Leon Theremin, Age 3

 

Because I wanted to be a wizard, a peculiar boy with an ear for velocity,

I sat before the spinning bookshelf and fixed gold watches in my head.

From the ceiling I hung massive objects and practiced displacement:

the length and direction of an imaginary path as a function of time.

 

In other words, the body sings without singing—that’s the nature

of vibrating things. The witch hazel twig will find the water’s metallic heart.

 

Go ahead, open the marrow; open the ground with a forked branch.

The hand’s an apparatus, an electrical tree, a song striking its own chords.

 

Now here come the words. They oscillate between two antennae,

the dismal and the luminous light. Draw back curtain after curtain;

 

tell your hand to contract around the doorknob. Feel that?

There’s a flutter of something inside the glass, a flutter of tensile strength.

 

Inside you’ll find every silk thread drawn from a million cocoons, spinning

in their own colossal universe—a wizard’s eye, the warlock’s crystal ball.

House of Rain

I made my house a house of rain;

at night, a house of snow.

I filled the bedrooms with waves.

I emptied the kitchen of fog.

 

Here, in the aftermath of pleasure,

we follow the sky-pointing rituals

of the black-necked swan.

 

They slender toward an unknown god,

burrowed inside a star’s star. Arrowed

to the sky, their beaks do not waver.

 

There’s something to be said for silence,

for saying as little as possible.

If I have sent a signal of smoke,

if I have read the lichen on the rocks,

tell me: how do we read this new map?

The path indistinguishable from the bramble,

the bramble obscuring the bog.

Let the world have what it wants.

The swans are nesting in yarrow;

the rain refrains from falling.

 

New map, same compass.

This earth will outlast us.

Jennifer Moore was born and raised in Seattle. She is the author of The Veronica Maneuver (Akron, 2015) and a forthcoming chapbook, Imaginary Weather (Hermeneutic Chaos, 2017). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Crazyhorse, DIAGRAM, Best New Poets, The Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. An assistant professor of creative writing at Ohio Northern University, she lives in Bowling Green, Ohio.