Sample Poems by Molly O'Dell Thanks to Elizabeth Bishop
I'll tie up my walking shoes, put on that shark's tooth and coral necklace,
grind coffee beans and enjoy the smell. I'll read "The Filling Station" to engage my core.
I might read it again, sip my coffee and watch hummingbirds outside.
Just listen to those crows. They're up there scheming whose corn to steal.
Because mama always talked about whether people lived on this or that side of the tracks,
I walk with my head held high enough to see above the tracks
and watch for sticks and stones along the way. I let dirt get under my fingernails,
pick unripe tomatoes, am careful what I say. I don't play bridge. Sometimes I stumble
when I walk and with no sense of direction I start from a new spot every day. Good Morning
Strawberries will never be fresher or sweeter. Scarlet curves cannot fatten more. The flesh drips with juice. Go ahead, bite the berry and make this moment burst open your day. Autumn Wedding
The plein air painter dabs color on canvas propped beneath a sycamore that sags from the bank of the Jackson. I cast my fly into a colorless pool shimmering between his dappled hues. We intend to catch what isn't ours but want the best of each to find. When I ask the painter why the light's so clean, he says dry air and the slant of the sun. Daylight draws shade from the stream. We see a pair of dragonflies take hold of one another, mid-flight like the couple who'll wed on the riverbank this afternoon when the fish quit biting. We're invited here to see his nut-brown hands, her rosy lips, their kiss. Jackson River
Crotch deep in snowmelt, with plans to hook that trout I missed last time, he hits my fly.
I strip, stop at twelve o'clock and two as I've been taught, then startle at a dark force under my line.
A paddle tail breaks water smashing its greeting in the silent stream. I am honored, beaver. Red Cow
The farmer finds a newborn calf, delivered of a small red heifer in a patch of wild onions, both of them cold, lying in new grass. He watches the calf stand untrained. It wobbles away bleating for nourishment and warmth to survive.
The new mother rouses, wanders off looking for her calf she cannot recognize apart from the place of birth.
He sends his son to a neighbor's dairy barn for colostrum.
For five days, drudgery upends the farmhouse. Each member feeds the calf from a bottle. Un-nuzzled, un-licked. Abandoned, thin. Likely to die.