Mary-Alice Boulter


(to Walter)

Like a freight engine
steaming down the track
leaning on the curve with
bad leg dragging the rail,
old one-eyed rooster shines
the headlamp of his good eye,
and couples with his train of hens
following him like flat cars,
boxcars, tank and slat cars
filled with plump fruit or
waiting to be laden.

His crow a warning at
crossings and yards where
sidetracked hens wait to
link up or leave his convoy.
He creaks to a halt when
one fails in her tracks,
to mourn the loss in long
silence echoing across fields
and into the farm kitchen,
where the stewpot waits
at the end of the line.


cows graze belly-deep
in fields of tall daisies
totem-prowed Viking longships
ungulating across verdant
white-crested waves

odd bovine musings
fill their ruminations
as they chew and then

let fall pungent islands
in their wake

I would ride their broad decks
content to crest petaled waves
inhale perfume of flowers and dung
imagine myself immersed
in far-flung seascapes

floating beyond the press of
dull possessions and daily bonds
take pleasure
in the cows’ placid fragrance
and calm passage

before we drive down the road
dark beneath our wheels
before these knarr creatures
and my impetuous fancies
disappear in the rear-view mirror.

Mary-Alice Boulter has peddled everything from pencils to public television, has traveled and lived in foreign countries, is a night-person, actor, costumer, social activist and writer. She and her husband, cats, dog, books and plants live in an 1898 Port Angeles Victorian home once owned by Raymond Carver and Tess Gallagher. Her prose and poetry have appeared in Viet Nam Magazine; Timberline; Tidepools; Black Rock and Sage; Fandango; two different anthologies, The Simple Touch of Fate and The Mystery of Fate; and a shared poetry chapbook with Maine poet Anne Mullin, Two Friends Blend.


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