Floyd Skloot

Two Poems

Harvest Moon, Manzanita, Oregon

At night we walk the elks’ path
between ocean and bay,
waves a dis­tant hiss to the west,
cack­ling geese call­ing since dusk.

Where the ridge crests a hundred
yards east, surf pine and dune grass
release a few shad­owy juncos.
Clouds chas­ing the full harvest
moon have got­ten snagged on
Neahkahnie Mountain north of us.
It is so bright we can see a clear-cut
slope on the Coast Range ahead.

All week we have been orienting
our­selves to this new home, this new
time in our lives. I try to imag­ine soon
being sev­en­ty but there are so many
stars when the clouds come loose
and too much hap­pen­ing just inside
the for­est when the wind dies down.

Simple Gifts

She sits by the win­dow tuning
her gui­tar as windswept light
off the riv­er flick­ers around her.

Late after­noon breeze carries
the deep thrum of a tugboat
head­ing back to its dock
and the fad­ing cack­le of geese
fly­ing south. She loosens
her fin­gers through two etudes
and a pas­sage from “Ode to Joy.”

Then she begins “Simple Gifts,”
and the melody is so familiar,
now that it is part of her practice,
I some­times hear it in dreams.

There it is always accompanied
by her soft smile as the song
draws to a close and starts anew.


Floyd Skloot’s most recent books of poet­ry include Approaching Winter (LSU Press, 2015), Close Reading (Eyewear Publishing, UK, 2014) and The Snow’s Music (LSU Press, 2008). In 2014, The University of Wisconsin Press pub­lished his fourth mem­oir, Revertigo, and they will pub­lish his fifth nov­el, The Phantom of Thomas Hardy, in fall 2016. He is the win­ner of three Pushcart Prizes and the PEN USA Literary Award, and his work has been includ­ed in The Best American Essays, Best American Science Writing, Best Spiritual Writing and Best Food Writing antholo­gies. He lives in Portland OR.