To the One Who Arranges Floods
by Anna Ross
What only world inhabits you?
In the bottom lands where you live
skunk cabbage catacombs its roots
and even birds remember their gills.
When dog days batten us down
you mourn through the valleys
on a raft of spare tires, spite,
and lawn ornaments, every lash
settling your score. I’ve seen you
bear down fast into Heart Lake
slapped wide open like a broken
hinge. What do you fathom
in those lost Midwestern seas,
fixed clear as Noah’s stoic horizon? Shored
in my tin-cup town, I’m counting
life boats, until the harriers cry home
and your rivers withdraw,
wielding their deltas like rakes.
Anna Ross holds an MFA from Columbia University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Paris Review, Southwest Review, The New Republic, and Salamander, among other journals. She lives in Dorchester, Massachusetts. (6/2006)