THE SUN QUESTIONS
Those who lived by air have fallen away— stood on a moor’s edge and dropped hands into the bog palm. Turned cold-blue with the grasp, black with the vespers. Sons that grew to love the tilling. Daughters that grew to fear the reaping. They bury in the soil and are boiled into fable. And these fallen, do I detect their subtle respiration in the grasses?
THE BOG ANSWERS
I am wise on what to devour whole, like bones, and what to leave alone— the coatings and skin on carrion and cadavers. I may dissolve a coin, yet clasp an ancient book of psalms. I am preserving, not consuming. Sacrosanct vault. I harbor. I soak the glorious cloud-water, stomach the earth flesh, ferment it to tannin, press it to peat. This is my vigil to swallow and salve. Rope, wheel, vessel, dragonfly, human hair: I practice immersion. Provide frith-stool. I’m not responsible for the strange fruit people leave behind— trove, tools, their own.
Author Commentary: These poems are from a series narrated by naturally-mummified bodies unearthed from peat and the natural elements of the bog. Forensics tell us many things about the nature of death for bodies recovered from bogs, but we don’t really know the story of these nameless souls. Within the series, I attempt to give them one. I acknowledge the similarity in borrowed phrases, such as strange fruit, from Seamus Heaney’s Bog Body poems.
Catherine Moore is the author of three collections including WETLANDS (Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry appears in Southampton Review, Caesura, Mid-American Review, Still: the Journal, Pilgrimage Magazine and in various anthologies. A Walker Percy and Hambidge fellow, her honors include the 2014 Gearhart Poetry Prize, a Nashville MetroArts grant, and Pushcart Prize nominations. She’s tweetable @CatPoetic.