Catching the Moles

By Judith Kitchen Judith Kitchen
First we tamp down the ridges
that criss-cross the yard

then wait for the ground
to move again.

I hold the shoe box,
you, the trowel.

When I give you the signal
you dig in behind

and flip forward.
Out he pops into daylight,

blind velvet.

We nudge him into the box,
carry him down the hill.

Four times we’ve done it.
The children worry.

Have we let them all go
at the very same spot?

Will they find each other?
We can’t be sure ourselves,

only just beginning to learn
the fragile rules of uprooting.

Poem copyright © 1986 by Judith Kitchen, whose most recent book is the novel, The House on Eccles Road, Graywolf Press, 2004. Reprinted from Perennials, Anhinga Press, 1986, with permission of the author.

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Poet Judith Kitchen

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Activities, Gardening, Nature, Animals

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse


Judith Kitchen was the author of several books, including: Perennials (poetry); Writing the World: Understanding William Stafford (criticism); Only the Dance (essays); Distance and Direction (essays); Half in Shade (nonfiction); and The House on Eccles Road (novel), which was awarded the S. Mariella Gable Prize in fiction. Her other awards include an NEA fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, and the Lillian Fairchild . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Gardening, Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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