Category Archives: Poems

Outboard Motor

After my father unhooded it, lugged it down
the steep path to the boat and clamped it on,
drew back the cord again and again like a pitch
about to be thrown, grimacing with each
whining refusal, and muttered, finally said
She doesn’t want to start, after it always did,
and we shoved away from the pier, rowed out of the dense
tangle of weeds and lily pads, not once
did our resting oars uncross their feet,
not even as we entered the shallow inlet
between our lake and the next, just purring through
the reeds in that narrow passage, over the billow
of silt, the rocks, never getting stuck before
we flew through the waves, his hand guiding the tiller.

Elise Hempel

 

O, Chicago, O’Hare

O, Chicago, O’Hare
By April Ossmann

One among the shifting mass
of humanity intent
on countless destinations,
one hungry stomach

and dry mouth among many,
one brain dazed
by the speed and altitude
of flights unnatural

to any animal, by herding,
followed by waiting
succeeded by rushing,
waiting, herding—

and more flight
incomprehensible
to any body contained
in this seemingly unwieldy

mass of metal lifting
improbably over Chicago,
where a misty orange aura
hovers over the city’s

brighter lights, as if
its soul sought ascension
it could only attempt,
as if the aura

might break free
and follow us,
wherever we might fly,
wheresoever we may rest—

one with the multitude
of humans en route
through mystery,
to mystery.