A Novel Written against Oblivion

Trey Moody

begins with music — a man shoveling snow

has no way of knowing this time the steadfast snow

slowly refilling the path he worked to clear won’t stop

until his heart stops first, the daughter writing the same story

inside their lamplit house, believing what she’s making

to be make-believe, Crayoned snowbanks beneath two pines,

classical radio filling the room, the shovel’s hard measure gone

cold. But this novel written against oblivion is not a story

about the man but a story about love: how the daughter

lets her dog outside, sees the father’s crumpled frame

against white, pleads into the face she holds with her hands

before continuing to live a life in which she brings the dog

everywhere she goes after, until the dog no longer can be

brought to a place. Then this novel written against oblivion,

this story about love, explores the ghosts imprinted onto

the grownup daughter’s mind: riding her bike through the clarity

of neighborhood air, all day wanting to dance to evening jazz,

the antique map of Texas drawing her far into sleep.

Without the dog, the daughter alone finds her way to yet

another place with trees and cicadas, another with hills and rivers

and clouds, another with birdsong each morning, her hands

darkened with garden dirt, because this novel written against

oblivion is really a story about love, and the daughter has maps

and music inside her. Far in the future, when the daughter dies,

for the daughter dies in this novel, too, it’s still not a story

about death. It’s written in the present tense, and the protagonist

is the daughter. When the novel ends, because all stories end,

the reader understands more about oblivion, even more about love.

There is no escaping the weather we can’t live separate from.


about the author