Poems About Moss

Dennis James Sweeney

But mosses don’t usually have common names, for no one has bothered with them.
—Robin Wall Kimmerer, Gathering Moss

Conocephalum conicum

When the right breath comes I will breathe it
Tiny, finger-like protrusions
A man locked in the bathroom, mourning
Menthol from wall to cloudy mirror

Hookeria lucens

Early jungle, late asset
Humble future
Speak of the clouds
Leaves like stained glass
Has been found
Has walked
The ovate leaves have rounded tips
The ovate leaves have rounded tips
The ovate leaves have rounded tips

Lepidozia reptans

Golf course/tennis court/pus
Shrink with constancy
Impossible lust
A boat hangs from the sky
An ocean hangs from the boat

Leucolepsis acanthoneuron

My mother and father and the movies
The nation wields its irony
Cars burn like limes
Narrow, white scale-like lovers
Plunge their arms into cream
Forgiveness, forgiveness

Pogonatum urnigerum

Stray with or without me
Lockboxes of bombs
In the dim lit hills
A hole to serve to the takers, who come
Gold and margins
Clear basal sheath

Racomitrium aquaticum

The body of the fog whispers
Bridges, heroic and lame
Tow-haired kids hate harder than anyone
Someone built this table
Peninsula of toys and bread

Atrichum selwynii

People hang
Buckets from their ribs
Cells shiver
A rack of calling
Get out from it
A hint

Oncophorus virens

Some relevant bleeding
From the wooden stream
Where in the rectangle I locate you
Red peristome teeth are in it
In it, alar cells
The clear cut supplies our horse and our distance
Soft capsule of names

Dicranum howellii

I am spores
Sure of an engine
Forgotten night
I began to live in my home when my home fell to me
Black moss
I went out in the woods
Someone held me
I woke and ran

Rhytidium rugosum

Boredom reaps
Its enemy
The causal
(Blink blink)
A train tears through a car like an animal
We invent a cruel, imaginative God

Ceratodon purpureus

On rooftops, children play with a dulled ball
Falling to nowhere
Caught by water’s flaked hands
The schools will be angered
Recurved margins
We have made for them a natural situation

DENNIS JAMES SWEENEY's writing has appeared in The Collagist, Crazyhorse, Five Points, Indiana Review, and Passages North, among others. He is the Small Press Editor of Entropy, the recipient of an MFA from Oregon State University, and a recent Fulbright fellow in Malta. Originally from Cincinnati, he is now a student in the PhD program in writing at the University of Denver.