When I am old

— Diane Lee Moomey

I will live in the redwoods
in mist and deep green shade. My lover
will live with me: two ancients,
we will build a treehouse
of woven bark. Bats

will hang, head down,
in the shadows above.

Or, when I am old,
I will live by the southern ocean
in a round house with seagrass
for a door. I’ll build it myself.

I shall eat kelp.

A gray cat will live with me,
a very old gray cat. He will be indifferent
to the seabirds that walk on my skin.

I shall lie by the water’s edge each day,
and mark the new year
by the return of gray whales
from the north


Ode, with Wings

— Diane Lee Moomey

Had I loved you as a farmer, a farmer,
I’d have had to drive all day
for just a glimpse of you
across your lower pasture,
deep in wheat grass, deep. Instead

you flew me upside down.

Had I loved you as a fisherman, a fisherman,
I’d need to row all night
to find the place we last dropped anchor,
and with a glass, the perfect glass,
might see your nets. Instead,

you flew me upside down. Instead,

I loved you in the air, the air. You wore
new wings, and in your father’s plane
so proudly lent, you flew me upside down.
Because I loved you there, all skies

belong to you. No need
to drive, to row. Every sky
belongs to you.


— Diane Lee Moomey


Another night wind, wet wind, bears
the breaths of owl and cougar, flings
pine limbs down, these crash
to wet ground, wet hunters
stalk prey,
wet prey,
can’t wait,
dark wet feet. Water howls down
spouts; clay bowls, ivy bowls
smash flat onto bricks. Out there,
dark there, one shriek — something small.
I wrap myself in woolen shawl.


A midday sun: all color gone
from cliffs, from sky, from shadows, empty
doorways— the village
sleeps. Waves of far-off hills break blue
on gray horizons. Tawny stone lifts
sheer above this valley floor, its glassy
facets flashing yellow, white.
A raven circles low above
the melting road. I wish
I had another sweater to take off.



— Diane Lee Moomey

You could, fed up
with red and blue flashing lights
and sickened by the siren howls
of human misery that never stop, could
slip through any window and follow
the thread back to Narnia.

You could
backtrack your own trail
and know that, had you turned north
in 1981 instead of west, he might
have said “yes” and you might now
be sitting in a different chair.

Or not.
Or you could, reflecting upon lawns
and empty lakes and on the vanishings
of certain birds, either slide into a glass
with ice, or, ranting, take to the streets
and by now, both those roads will lead
to the same place.

It’s been such a long drought. So many
things were never born.

Pigeon Point

— Diane L. Moomey

We leaned
against a railing that shook
beneath our jacketed elbows, leaned
watching dolphins arc their ways
past us toward the beach behind
as if nothing on earth or sea
were more important and of course,
nothing is. We leaned

against a wooden fence at the land’s
end of our world, a split rail
hanging over iceplant and crooked trail,
watched Niked hikers follow it down
to an improbable beach below. We spoke,

facing whitecaps, of what is terribly
important to us in our seventh decade,
spoke facing the place where the dolphins
had come through, fought
as we sometimes do, thought

they could have been porpoises.