Enters in the heroic mode, feathered
And helmeted, muscle-bound
For glory, smelling of scorch. Raise
That sword a little higher
If you can lift it and buckle your straps
Tight. Insert fanfare. Nobody still
Gets to ride the train all afternoon
Dozing. Scotch that clickety-clack, the sudden
Dark plunge. In the underworld nobody gets to be
Just a body any more, ripe, a little bloody,
And needing its toenails clipped. Me, poor
Me, I’m steeping in juices, greased
And gristled. In the past I’ve been pretty
Enough, though, to make up for anything.
Katharine Coles wrote her fifth poetry collection, The Earth Is Not Flat (Red Hen Press, 2013), under the auspices of the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. Ten poems from the book, translated into German by Klaus Martens, appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Matrix, and her work is currently being translated into Spanish and Italian. Her sixth book, Flight, is due out from Red Hen in 2016. A professor at the University of Utah, Coles has served as Utah poet laureate (2006–2012) and as the inaugural director of the Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute (2009–2010).