Two Poems

The Problem with School

My son’s friend likes Shakespeare
but hates school. Emmett’s a rough neck, 
a red neck, a trampoline-jumping,
video-game-thumping player. 
He’s read Hamlet and Macbeth.
Thinks they’re cool. But damnéd 
Ds adorn his report card 
like spells on the breath of witches
or stubborn spots on a lady’s hands.
So when their teacher assigns a paper 
to discuss a book 
the students have never read, 
Emmett picks Hamlet
“But you already read that,”
my son with his ethics in tow 
and clever 4.0 says. 
“I know,” Emmett says, his brilliant 
method burning through the mask 
of his matter-of-fact madness. 
“And she’d never believe it.”



Hurricane Ike swept through Ohio like a pushy relative
elbowing everyone as he proclaimed his politics. 
A whole lot of hot air. Blowing hard.

A storm with no reward of rain. 

In the orchard next door, apples 
shook from their branches in heaps 
of red and green. 

A sudden harvest, profuse with violence.

My kids helped the neighbors bag the fruit
eager to risk the 70 mph wind ripping 
siding from houses, peeling

shingles from roofs like skin. 

My sprained ankle held me back.
I watched from my window as the empty
tongue of the tempest grew loud

raging against the rescuers, bare-handed and brave.

—Julie L. Moore, Cedarville, OH