Saying These Things

by Ronald Moran

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Review by Gilbert Allen

About the Book

Saying These Things is the first installment in a series of poetry collections Ronald Moran has published with CUP. The others are

Sample Poems

The Ghost of My Father

The ghost of my father
tries to sleep downstairs
while I dream him awake
in one of my fragments.

He lies facing his radio,
tuned to a language I do
not understand. Neither
does he but he still listens.

When I ask him if Mother
ever found him, if they
are finally happy together,
he rises, touching his heart.

Saying These Things

Today the sun sets for the last time in two months
on Barrow, Alaska, all that darkness, all that
turning on of lights to shine on the familiar, on
boots that hang from hooks in stark mudrooms.

In the mad corridors of perpetual night, I imagine
the drugstore turning off its lights for the duration:
Gone South for the season. Be back with the sun.
All my prescriptions, called in at the last minute,
snoozing in the in-basket, like last year's receipts.
The tingling in my hands and feet spreads like hives,
and I can hear my T-cells cracking like dead limbs.

Here, in the hospital room without a bed, waiting
one more time for Jane to return, I take my pulse
to the bold clock on the far wall, its strong black
numbers perfectly normal, its second hand sweeping
the terrain like radar. No weather in sight, and I am
saying these things because I am holding on to her life.


I was taking my usual walk
on Chapman Hill Road,
between the cemetery and
a field of rotting bales of hay,
when a rusted-out Ford Pinto
pulled up next to me, keeping
pace with my uncertain stride.

A woman with straight hair
lowered the window, asking,
Have you accepted Christ?
I wasn't ready for that, needed
time, so I smiled like an oaf
and fixed my eyes straight ahead
toward the road's dead end.

When I turned back toward her,
I said, We are on good terms.
She stepped on the gas, releasing
a bank of blue exhaust, turned
at the end of the road, gunned
the Pinto past me, and shot
me the bird, three quick times.