THREE POEMS BY LORI ANDERSON MOSEMAN
How I Became an Aircraft Carrier
When I first met this canoe,
I thought it wanted to be a truck
(it had let water ram it up a rocky slope).
What good is a boat that prefers shore?
When I first put this boat on my back,
I knew then it wanted to be a plane –
not a fighter jet just a simple prop.
What good is a boat that prefers air waves?
When I feel the weight of the word
canoe (so heavy I could not think truck
or plane), I dread the heft of transport.
What good is a poem that breaks a back?
A river cannot flow how a crow flies.
Boats bob with or without human cargo.
This poet is one landing for words in transit.
We’re anchovies above water moving in prescribed directions.
No, we’re not the same, that’s how we shimmer. We got little
ones who zip, we got a tag game going double time.
We got the hip swaying. We’re orienting ourselves to oldies,
reinventing Sunday – schooling on ice. No longer in the hull
on a transatlantic haul. We’re self-propelled – flow
that has changed its state. Take a fish knife from your hand,
make it a blade for your foot. Adapt. Prayer shawls and veils,
fleece caps and woolens: old world ways weave
awareness. The give in our knees not weakness
but an attention that cushions what careens our way.
In the Way a Cow’s Grazing Is
(in poor pasture Bessy eats bones for phosphorus)
a hungry priestess
(like a barrel racer in a calculated turn) cuts
the boldest girl
from the herd (roped, dragged, branded) this stray
to deaden (her appetite, her agency swallowed)
stampedes, then, are sweeter churches
collective in their turning (fences far gone
earth their echo)
*all from Persona, Swank Books, 2003.