Four Poems by Jennifer Moxley

COMPANY EDITIONS is an independent publisher of poetry and visual art. The journal, Company, was founded in 2013 and is published three or four times per year. We will also be publishing chapbooks beginning in late 2016. Company Editions is based in Athens, GA, Iowa City, IA, and Cambridge, MA. You can contact the editors by emailing





I wrote this happiness myself.

I chose this man, this house, this cat.

I put my shadow twin

upstairs in the leaf of a

mediocre book I thought

never to open again. I felt grateful.


Upstairs there were many

photo albums with gluey pages

and yellowed Mylar in between

which Poloroids had come

unstuck. In them happy children

pitch tents, watch TV,

open presents, and smile before

homemade birthday cakes.

Had I known them? I knew


that I was not missing them

or missing out and thus my heart

was full. But, I thought,

should phosphorus mix

with potassium chlorate

and hit the gaseous air,

this man, this house, this cat,

be lost, what then? They’d join

the many other dead

whose memories I tend.

I cannot miss. My heart is full


and grateful. But, I thought,

while I still could, should

neuro plaques and tangles

knot my mind my heart would

empty and all of this would

cease to be. I could not miss it,

nor even this, my spark.



The violence of the human world does not scale.

Digits thumb up the glow until the clip, the feed, the ad

Shoot through the eyes into the head. The backed-up

Neglected rooms shake with new poisons, information, and numbers.

The unfilmed quiet that follows the rifle. Heads: of state, severed,

In a mass, rivers of adrenaline compelled by violence,

Human, worldly, tearful or gleeful, all is turned to rage.


The old—never again will there be such as are now.

The wind knows what to do. The snow. The little life

That’s lost beneath the Earth’s benevolent death.

As we try to sleep the screened-in head ignites

With endless clips of violence. This is our truth?

What’s muffled: some thought about hope

In an old book that somebody by candlelight

Wrote the moment she knew all hope was gone.


Crumpled youth can still laugh at death, but any age

Can apply this mortal urge to resignation, or righteousness

To create more bright violence. Here is belief?

Humans are lit up: we can know all and see everything,

Face the hatred and be mistaken for brave, raise our

Convulsive fist in an attempt to conform to new

Scales of violence reflected off these surfaces,

Distracting us from other worlds, inward, or yet begun.



One onus on an empty calendar

            Penciled in at three o’clock

Is more blood-tick to the soul’s good humor

            Than a whole day eaten of work.



My consort is in concert with the waves

He dolphins through the seaweed ropes, salted

With flesh-memory of his youthful days

The purpose just existence, exalted

Body set free from calendared hours,

The ransomed life, the hourglass sandstorm.

To my consort it seems the sea authors 

A form he must follow, he must perform

An ichthyan act: robbed of oxygen

That he might feel dissolved in that kindless

Edge of presence, which lives within the lexicon

Of ear—a breath-robbed tide-dandled blindness

In which my consort counts the beats, five-fold

Iambic “deaths” recoiled from ancient shore,

Five-fold the poet’s dance to patterns old.

A radiation from the cosmic core

Attracts the man with whom my fate’s attached,

His life-trace succumbs to the sea’s deep-rhyme

When up from primordial death he’s snatched

By that rhythm moon-gripped, element sublime.


Jennifer Moxley was raised in San Diego, California. She studied literature and writing at UC San Diego and the University of Rhode Island and received her M.F.A. from Brown University in 1994. She is the author of six books of poetry, a book of essays, and a memoir. In addition, she has translated three books from the French. Her poems have been included in two Norton Anthologies, Postmodern American Poetry and American Hybrid. Her book The Sense Record (2002) was picked as one of the five best poetry books of the year by both Stride magazine (UK) and Small Press Traffic (US). Her poem “Behind the Orbits” was included by Robert Creeley in The Best American Poetry 2002. In 2005 she was granted the Lynda Hull Poetry Award from Denver Quarterly, and in 2015 her book The Open Secret was awarded the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams award. She is Professor of Poetry and Poetics at the University of Maine.