Poetry: Infant Tusks by Daniel Moore

Daniel Moore’s “Infant Tusks” breaks hearts, while the poem plays with its central image ingeniously. Levity, cruelty, danger, and pride—all here. All a piece of parenting.


Infant Tusks

If only I had, they would have been,
what, different? Less prone to seeing my body
as a slot machine of hope,

less prone to firing words, like
elephant guns on the Serengeti
scarring the earth with graves.

Rubbing my body nightly with the
hot balm of blame sedates the neo-cortex
as the voice is being erased.

If their missing parts can be found
in me, did they forget them when they left,
or did I make cruelty a parting gift,

a shield to protect them from flying things
who leave their young on the ground at night
blinded by a motherless moon?

At the moment their importance
supersedes our own, is that the
meat cleaver massage, cutting the fat off the bone,

to make their journey less heavy?
Parenting is a risky adventure into
the land of infant tusks aimed at open hearts.

We all end up on the living room wall
holding dust like a baby; tender, pink, innocent things,
slaughtered to decorate stillness.



Daniel Moore

Daniel lives in Washington on Whidbey Island. His poems have been found at Spoon River Poetry Review, Rattle, Columbia Journal and others. His poems will soon be found at Hawaii Review, Blue Fifth Review, Plainsongs, The Museum Of Americana, West Trade Review, Flexible Persona Literary Journal, AJI Magazine, Duende Literary Journal, New Limestone Review, The Inflectionist Review and Magnolia Review. His books, This New Breed: Gents, Bad Boys and Barbarians Anthology, and Confessions of a Pentecostal Buddhist, can be found on Amazon. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Visit Daniel at danieledwardmoore.com.

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