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Penelope Moffet

Penelope Moffet is the author of three chapbooks, most recently Cauldron of Hisses (Arroyo Seco Press, 2022). Her poems have been published in Gleam, One, Natural Bridge, Permafrost, Pearl, The Rise Up Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Verse-Virtual, Gyroscope and other literary journals. She lives in Southern California. A former freelance journalist, editor and photographer, she has worked as a legal secretary for 25 years, a job from which she will retire this year.


The tree lights up the yard,
radiant with fruit.
I can’t think what they are,
cry, Tiny oranges?
My friend replies, Kumquat.

A thousand suns on branches,
some fallen to the ground.
Windfall, I say,
although the air is still.
Black wings flap. Crowfall,

my friend says. Or branches
shedding what won’t stay.

Exhausted by the fight
to pay her bills, her constant pain,
she says she’ll find her dog
another home, then
walk into the desert.

She thinks she’s just one ripple
quickly replaced by other ripples
and she isn’t wrong. I too
am just a wrinkle
on the river’s back.

Meanwhile there are reasons
to be here. Friends
to walk with. Wind in trees.
The bright taste
of kumquat on the tongue.

Don’t go,
I say.
Hold on.
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