This Moss

This Moss

I grow damp in the corner.
I remind you of that last time—
sun slanting through the barn, 
smell of hay, dusty orange
marigolds. Swallows flew
through the light beams, remember
how you sucked in your breath
balanced there.

Here, sun breaks into bars.
Your mind beats hot
darting in such a small cage.
You hold your breath so long
you are afraid of falling.
But some nights, if the clouds
roll a certain way, you remember
buttercups and dreams rising
like bread, buttered and warm,
the yeasty taste
of a woman’s hold.

Susan Landgraf
Other Voices
Finishing Line Press

This Moss
Susan Landgraf


what it means

I’m not really sure what it means.  The moss is talking reminding you of an earlier time, a happy time.  Good memories can save us.  Good memories are wholesome and nurturing.

why I like it

It makes me happy.  Even if there is something a bit scary about holding your breath so long you are afraid of falling, the rest of the poem is about what can help.  I feel at peace after I read this poem.


I love all the sensory details, especially the smells—hay, bread.  I love that I don’t completely understand this poem.  I pretend she wrote this poem by writing out the whole story and then pulling back to this.  Part of the folklore of poetry is when you do that, the story stays.  I feel that in this poem, an underlying story that deepens the poignancy of the images in front of us.

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