Stewart Moss

February 25, 2021 Moss Stewart

after W.C.Williams


If, when I sit here in my study
on a March afternoon,
the pink cherry tree out the window
rapturous in the late day sun,
my feet resting on a kilim cushion perched
on a pulled-out desk drawer,
a modest glass of spirits by my elbow
the closest I can come now
to the schnapps my bubbeh failed
to carry back to the shtetl
when the distiller saw she had bare feet
and sent her to the cobbler instead
to buy herself some shoes,
and my mouth watering at
the pickled herring I’ll serve later
to my wife and myself,
and maybe build a small flame
in the fireplace crusted
with the charred soot
of our laughter and our longings,
who shall say
I am not the happy genius
of my household,
though I do not dance to admire
my bare flanks, face, arms and buttocks
in the cloudy bedroom mirror,
but whirl instead to upset
darkness and celebrate
the swelling bosom
of the rising gibbous moon,
what the shamans have told us since long ago
is the sign for gratitude.

As a former Executive Director of The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Stewart Moss helped establish creative writing programs for adult immigrants and members of the military being treated for neurological and psychological trauma. He has taught literature and creative writing in both the USA and abroad; Scotland, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Nepal are among the countries where he has lived and worked. Moss has essays included in Retire the Colors: Veterans & Civilians on Iraq & Afghanistan, ed. Dario DiBattista (Hudson Whitman/Excelsior College Press, 2016) and Plume Poetry, and poetry in Plume, Goss 183 and Origins Literary Review. His chapbook of poems, For Those Whose Lives Have Seen Themselves, was published in 2021 by Finishing Line Press, and his collection Arrivals & Departures: Poems will be released (also by Finishing Line Press) in 2023. Moss has been awarded an Independent Artist Grant by the Maryland States Arts Council; he has also been featured in “The Poet and the Poem” podcasts at The Library of Congress. A native of Boston, MA, he resides in Annapolis, MD.