George Moore

Traveling North

Come along then

past the knocked down fences


the windowless cedar farmhouse

where chickens abandoned the hard dirt yard


and out back behind the barn you’ll find

an edge of the world


a creek trailing silver over mossy black stone

and pearls in the water of lazy trout’s eyes


Then stepping on stones across the stream

one foot at a time we follow a boy


who I might have been before these choices

leading us into the deeper wood


His eyes are keen his hands loose at his sides

he climbs toward the hills beyond unaided


by maps or road signs or other lives

knows the trail by initials on the trees


walks without leaving footprints in the grass

he follows a path with a second sense


and knows we come along

up a creek an ancestor might have named


where he picks up a stone flat as a page

and skips it across the sun’s late glare


And there we can rest a bit and rub our feet

and get ready for there is a long way to go


we are heading north

but he never says where or gives a sign


yet we must travel light

staying to the trail

Image by Mikel Ibarluzea

George Moore has published poetry in The Atlantic, Poetry, Colorado Review, North American Review, Valparaiso, and Orion. His first collection was a finalist for The National Poetry Series, and later work nominated for eight Pushcart Prizes. His collections include Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015) and Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle 2016). Moore taught literature and writing at the University of Colorado, Boulder, for many years, and now lives with his wife, a Canadian poet, on the south shore of Nova Scotia. More from this poet:

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