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Julie L. Moore


If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift.
                                                                     -- Eavan Boland

My parents care what happens
to the killdeer whose nest of eggs
rests in their lawn. They worry
about the family in the storms that come.
The four inches that falls in one night,
flooding the roads, the creeks, their yard.
My dad wants to harness the silver-
shingled cover of clouds, the warmth
in their electric touch, the very water.
To keep the mother alive whose cries overflow
the banks of her throat. To defend her unborn
chicks growing cold from exposure.
Beaks poke through,
rip in two the mottled fabric of the eggs.
Emerge. Tender and tentative,
like buds that one morning decide, finally,
to rise from their bed, get dressed.
And then: the fluffing of feathers, the flurry
of squeals. Like kids at a birthday bash, cheering
as the piņata breaks open, spills
sweets. Life is like that.
It tends to celebrate itself.
And my parents run outside to witness
the chicks’ first steps, finding the urge irresistible
to crash the party.
From Scandal of Particularity, a manuscript awaiting publication.
This poem first appeared in The Basilica Review as “Of Grief and Gift.”
Used here with the author’s permission.


Julie L. Moore believes that writing poetry can be like a game, for it can manipulate language, satirize our clever, yet shallow, society, and even crack jokes. But that's not why she jots notes in her moleskin while washing dishes, playing summer tourist, or trying to endure prolonged and painful illnesses. For her, it?s about saving a life: her own and--she hopes, if she's any good at it--someone else?s. Author of Slipping Out of Bloom (WordTech Editions) and Election Day (Finishing Line Press), Julie?s award-winning work has been published in numerous journals. Julie lives in Cedarville, Ohio; read more about her at



Post New Comment:
Quality poem, rendered with skill.
Posted 04/04/2012 03:18 PM
Joe Sottile:
Good one!
Posted 04/04/2012 12:45 PM
Sharon Urdahl:
Beautiful poem. Love the parallel "parental" instincts the humans have for the Killdeer. Thank you...Sharon Urdahl
Posted 04/04/2012 12:11 PM
I, too, love "life is like that. It tends to celebrate itself". Wonderful lines, Wonderful Poem!! Thank you... Judy
Posted 04/04/2012 10:20 AM
"Life is like that. It tends to celebrate itself." Unforgettable lines. Thank you.
Posted 04/04/2012 10:12 AM
How expressive of the plight of the killdeer. The creature community has its own challenges, not unlike our daily ordeals.
Posted 04/04/2012 09:59 AM
Posted 04/04/2012 08:21 AM
Janet Leahy:
Wonderful language in this poem that holds our interest to the very end, "her cries overflow the banks of her throat," how alike mothers are in the animal and human world. Thanks Julie.
Posted 04/04/2012 07:28 AM

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