Ode to the Grandiose

The time change
had me up at dawn, which ordinarily

wouldn’t happen. The orchard
was still soggy, the elk had already been through,
leaving their little Milk Duds.

I missed out on the bears as well, which you’d
think would have depressed me,

considering I was up before the bewildering light.

There were piles of apple-dense scat,
but the hairy goofs hadn’t broken a single bough,

the delicate Baldwins still hanging proud
and innocent. The bears had eaten within

our means and then no doubt napped, each in its lone
crop circle.

And all the roses I mowed down last year
were twining up even in this dryish fall.

I missed my dog’s brisk discoveries,
but I knew he was with friends
racing his joy at the beach.

I didn’t mind the marsh-like stubble;
in fact, I wrote a couplet in my head,

all iambs—it was fantastic—
and I counted out the stresses

on my double front Carhartts
so I could look woodsy

out in the fields.

It had been cold in the night. Someone
left a window open a notch, and I had hoped

my lover would have a hot flash—
she did not—which was joyous
for her, breathing a merely warm gust
on the sheets, so I could
hardly be disappointed.

The light stretches a different glass everywhere.
The morning just as disjunctive as the night.

I swear I was paying attention
to where the shadows fell,

the songbirds, missing for so
many seasons, chirping chirpy chirps.

And the lady next door, I didn’t mind
the unnatural coupling of her horse and donkey.

Aquinas said what is natural for one
can be unnatural for another although

I don’t think he was talking about equines.
Mules are blesséd, too.

Something holy descended on the alders,
the green varied and shone and retired

into the shadows, which I was watching
and, for a moment, nothing bad happened anywhere.

Even the loggers were singing for the page
this poem is on.

Embarrassment comes from the word halter,
did you know?

A guiding voice helps in a fog, but
with nothing left to burn off,

shake that mane. When you’re happy,
it’s your prerogative to be grandiose.

Martha Serpas has published two collections of poetry, Côte Blanche (New Issues) and The Dirty Side of the Storm (W.W. Norton). Her third, The Diener, will be published by LSU Press in early 2015. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Image, and Southwest Review. A native of southern Louisiana, she co-produced Veins in the Gulf, a documentary about Louisiana’s disappearing wetlands. She is on the faculty of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston and also serves as a hospital trauma chaplain.