The moon is white slivered as a new tooth. 
One by one, spots of stars blink open 
at my children, nestled in the van on the long road 
to my mother’s. I look back, say, look, the stars,
to the littlest who is sleeping with her mouth 
so open I can see back to the spaces her molars 
will fill. How empty and full, a root. I want 
to cut down a tree when we’re back home, 
but I’m remembering that story 
where the uncle cuts down the babies 
of the mountain—trees—for gold 
his niece won for collecting just the fallen 
things. What falls into our laps 
when I open the windows, hamburger wrappers, 
scraps and receipts flurry up. One child is sleeping, 
the others’ faces glow blue in the strange light 
of their tablets, blue-faced as morning. 
They don’t want to look out 
when I say look how awake the night is—
We are driving the long road through 
West Virginia to my mother’s little white 
house and homemade pie, and I know she’ll watch 
my face for each new line—we are born 
travelling, stay seated, close and open 
our eyes to find mother, a line 
also. Goodnight road. Tonight, we’re
together and fine. 


Sara Moore Wagner is the winner of the 2021 Cider Press Review Editors Prize for her book Swan Wife (2022), and the 2020 Driftwood Press Manuscript Prize for Hillbilly Madonna (2022). She is also 2021 National Poetry Series Finalist, and the recipient of a 2019 Sustainable Arts Foundation award. Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies including Sixth Finch, Waxwing, Nimrod, Beloit Poetry Journal, and The Cincinnati Review, among others. Find her at