Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Emily Strauss- Two Poems

Heritage Days Bass Fishing Contest

Drove the levee road to Lover’s Landing
for the striped bass fishin’— the river wide
and slow there— stepped into the bar
decorated in beer pictures of tan antlered elk
and mountain brooks, the one-toothed
owner let me sleep under a wide shade tree.

Old bikers in the dirt lot were standing around
passing time, one leaned on his carved wood cane,
the pale fishermen were burned red, their women
drove the giant diesel trucks. At the weighing
tent tournament contestants carried their prizes

high by the mouth, joked loudly to the bystanders
watching and waiting, got their numbers recorded,
country line-dancing music blasted from the jukebox
inside competing with the jocular beer drunk-in-the-
heat Americans back-slapping and guffawing.

The filthy mongrel terrier slept splayed out
in the dust, time and traffic left far back
in the week— finally everyone asleep
in their fancy trailers and RVs bought
for just this kind of day, the cottonwoods
wafting white tufts silently on the grass.

Dying Plants

in each dream I find them:
dried, wasting away in some corner
forgotten months ago, it's amazing
they still live, the soil cracked
in their tiny pots, I must water
them immediately, perhaps
they will revive, I mustn't neglect
them again amidst the chaos
of divorce, moving away, the house
and garden a shambles, I remember
when each one arrived, tended
so carefully and now look at them—
barely alive, poor bedraggled stems,
shriveled leaves, they must look like
me, nearly hopeless but I shall mend
them, here's my watering can, let me
find them all, I won't forget next time,
here-- a sip of water, the dirt soaking it up
instantly, I can leave now.

Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry. Over 100 of her poems appear in dozens of online venues and in anthologies. The natural world is generally her framework; she often focuses on the tension between nature and humanity, using concrete images to illuminate the loss of meaning between them. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California.

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