Joel Moskowitz


At night I leave the window open 
to the eerie yelps of a coyote pack,
great horned owls calling over the meadow,
faint peals of faraway thunder,
season's final cricket-song.
When cold gusts also enter
the opening and chill the room,
I welcome the fresh air, is what I tell you,
and not the other truth––
those soft decibels quiet my night thoughts.

But what will I do during
the coming colder months?
Close the window, I'm afraid.
Peer through the glass,
await a messenger,
some would say my father,
with the silence humid between us.
But would I want that?
Perhaps, instead, an angel
will visit, one of those with strength
we sing of–– guardians
who hover on all sides of us
and above our backs
to catch a tree in case it falls.
Perhaps the angel of death will be the one,
because that's the only guest guaranteed
to come, on the other side of the pane.
But more likely, an animal––
one of those invasive wild pigs from the South,
their low bodies, soft snouts, shovel teeth rooting in the soil,
or–– I hope–– a solitary moose lost from the frozen North,
its Rorschach antlers darker than the night.




The Coffee

Someone in a hurry
must have dropped this Styrofoam cup,
then didn't bother to pick it up,
and now a brown puddle
ripples like a supple leaf,
spreads a little in a breeze,
pools, and drips into a crevice
of the sidewalk.

Now, people stepping over the crevice
experience a jolt of zeal
with grand thoughts, friendly gestures. The city opens
its doors. Someone asks her boss for a raise
and is rewarded. Someone finds a twenty,
buys a steak sandwich
but feels a little jittery.
Someone boards a train
hoping for a rendezvous.

But the coffee is in the cold and dark,
absorbing dirt, and yearns to be
clean again, back in its cup,
in a coffeehouse,
wants to hear salsa music
from a land of shaded hillsides,
fertile winds, and a lush valley.
Now the coffee sloshes a little
and would like somebody who
has a firm hold to dip a biscotti
with sweet crumbs slowly softening off
and sinking to the bottom of the cup.





Joel Moskowitz is an artist and retired picture framer who lives with his wife and cat
in Sudbury, Massachusetts. His poems have appeared​ in J Journal, Midstream,
Naugatuck River Review, The Healing Muse,, and