SELF-PORTRAIT WITH UNUSUALLY
CONVINCING LOON CRY

It’s more like the long end of a sour date
or slipping from one radio station to another
on the glowing FM dial
than any reassuring call from home.

I avoid Minnesota in all seasons,
wear its circumference in reverse
like a skirt too tiny for the smallest girl.
Like dancing with an always angry clown,

an alcoholic bulb of nose,
I’m careful of its sudden bends.
Tornadoes might pile its cool soil
on top of me; a stray quake could

permanently inter me in its wintry
opulence. Migrating birds could deposit twigs
from its pine reams into
my car’s sunroof that doesn’t seal

completely. I am propelled
away as if by magnetic force or winter
storm. If the rivers flood,
I would wash away like blood

clotted at the mouths of cuts.
When the waters slalom past
the dikes in North Dakota,
I would watch Grand Forks

burning on TV underwater
and think of home,
a broken bell, loose smelt. Deep now
in Alabama’s angry spleen,

I hear the loon facsimile’s
an electronic call
tanning my apartment’s
excuse for air. This plush

bird, given as a gift,
emits a tone that like an old
country song, rings far away
and somehow comes back awful blue.


Ander Monson




SAVED

When lazy Lake Superior, unsatisfied
with the last bite of beach,
has turned its lapping gape
to our finely-furnished home,

When the kitchen sadly sags
out over the swells that ate
the microwave and all our frozen
treats, our maple table, correctly-set
with silverware whose blades
and tines will shine underwater
as they have ceased to here,

When we die from lack of love or sense
of Providence, our valiant televisions
wailing, lined screens finally found profound
by fish that bump their noses
on our faces and leave confused,

We will be still
above, halfway held
in the serene marine air,
on our parents beds, in borrowed
family cabins, in a state of final balance,

and, like the arms of the bored Lord,
who has kept His Hands
pushed out against the Sides
of doorframes for So Long
that they have gone Numb,
when freed, we will all be raised
up without intention.


Ander Monson
The St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book AwardThe St. Lawrence Book AwardThe St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book Award
The Adirondack Review
ANDER MONSON draws from his life in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, the Deep South, and Saudi Arabia. He has an MFA from the University of Alabama. He edits the  magazine DIAGRAM and the New Michigan Press, and publishes widely. His book of poems, Vacationland, was published by Tupelo Press in 2005. His novel in stories, Other Electricities, was released by Sarabande Books this spring as well.