Like a Running Moss


Men were always rambling or rolling,

moving on while we stayed—

growing moss.

Now though, even your studies show that we are the ones

really on the move.

And the difference is that we don’t roll,

we’ve been taking giant “Mother-May-I” steps

every time your back is turned.


You’ve always rolled because you think you were all born on a train

and that someone else, someone young will ease your seizing gears,

oil them with their thighs and their still-bright life,

to make you go



We step instead because we leave for ourselves.

They may call our eating, praying, and our loving trite—

a flock of flamingos painting the same

flowers with the same strokes and a glass of wine

in regiments once a month,

or selfish—

bad mothers who take our teats to work,

and bad wives who forgot how to cook,

bad women

who are supposed to give because that is their purpose

their body assigned.


But we’ve been more than moss

for the dog to shit on

or the kids to tumble in,

to cradle anything without cushion

in the cool shadowed places beneath evergreens and oaks

that block out the sun.

Squishy, but solid, surviving mostly in the dark en masse,

dieting yet feeding

everyone else.


We can survive our whole lives like this;

look for us anywhere sunlight dapples—

but now we are also in the green that is spreading

into the light.

We are eating now and we like the sun

and are growing

feet, webbed and taloned, flat and

strong with suction cups that grip

even the air.


We are on the move and if we want something young

and pretty, and full of life,

it’s for fun, for us both,

not definition, or some pathetic attempt to slide,

pumping with the help of a pill

into salvation.


Your young ones may not need lube, but you do

and just as you won’t fill or keep up with her,

she won’t be the one to pay for your coffin.



Janna Grace lives in a half-glass barn and her work has been published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Plastik Magazine, and Cut a Long Story, among others. She has pieces forthcoming in Eunoia and Ref Eft Review and she teaches writing at Rutgers University. Her debut novel will be published through Quill Press in 2019. For more, visit JannaLiggan.com


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