Rod Val Moore

Wall Lesson

Sunrise leaked out of me once, bleached and frigid,
ice milk, a kind of clorox, I was too much the child.

Then came the time of crouching in small corners, near
the furious wall heater, fearing winter, fearing thought.

Not wanting anything was a way not to break my
bones. Or so I thought. Always a terror of falling.

Someone I couldn’t see asked what’s wrong with that boy
of yours there in the corner, so pink and mountain ugly?

But I couldn’t take words into me without shaping my
brain, in my mind, into a kind of army flame thrower.

The wall heater took years to refine me. I knew my
skin was a costume, unbuttoned, ready for all its lives.


One eye was softly ruined in the womb,
leaving my vision poor since birth.

                                                   A kind of curtain
always floats before me, a lace that drifts across fine
surfaces and mass.

Spectacles then: glass-bottom boats over the eyes.
They turned me dark, heavy, tilting, uncorrected.

In high school, four-eyed, bullied, I grew instead
two black arthropod eyes, just like in The Fly.
Bulbous, searching, compound.

                                                   We monsters see
you only in multiples, only in your dirty luxuriance.


Rod Val Moore has worked as a fiction writer for many years, with short stories and novels widely published, but currently is focussing on poetry. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the artist Lisa Bloomfield.