While I travel the world’s
geography, history,
and virtual present,
in mind and poetry—
a September reality
knocks, constant
as a wound-up alarm clock,
startling me from work,
leisure, and sleep equally,
as if to remind me of the world
my body lives in, regardless
of metaphysical distractions—
the house over-spread
by the massive oak,
whose acorns slingshot
deck, and shotgun metal roof,
like Tolkein’s angry Ents,
while the rest thud softly
onto lawn, as arrows into flesh.
Do I mistake as warfare,
an offered harvest
I thought belonged
to squirrels and chipmunks?
Should I contest
rodents’ rights,
eye-to-avaricious-eye
on weeping sod,
snatch their manna
by the bushel,
cook up a way—
pan-seared or baked in cake—
to make acorns appetizing?
Am I meant to mind
the oak’s business,
instead of what I thought
was mine, install
a nanny-cam to better spy?
Do I need to be outside,
attentively breathing
autumn air, and drinking
Chardonnay light,
like a Buddhist Bacchus,
walking barefoot
on cool, dewy grass—
and bruising woody knobs,
to avert being unwittingly
slain in the spirit?
Shall I ask the oak
to favor me,
with a direct hit
on my foggy noggin,
to wake me
to the present present?
 

The Beyond

To all the experiences
        I will not have had
in corporal form—

parasailing, storm chasing,
        space flight, ejaculating—
rest ye all in peace.

I will be giddy to have gone
        beyond laundry, taxes, Tweets,
hangnails and corporate corruption,

police states, corpulent anxiety,
        corporal punishment—
and even past my corpus,

which will not delve as deep
        as one pollinating bee,
nor comfort me,

as one spoken word
        from my mother would—
nor be as brilliant

as even the smallest waterfall.
        I will, I hope, have gone
beyond my corpse,

but no one who knows
        is talking, and that is
as it should be.

 
 

April Ossmann

APRIL OSSMAN is the author of Event Boundaries and Anxious Music (Four Way Books), recipient of a Vermont Arts Council Creation Grant, and former executive director of Alice James Books. She is an independent editor (poetry, essays, reviews): www.aprilossmann.com; and a faculty editor for the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Sierra Nevada College.

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