Poem by Saara Myrene Raappana


Photo by Dave Bledsoe of FreeVerse Photography

Canticle of Waitresses, Waiting


This is how we herded by the waitress station,

waiting, as the town, turned down to one by snow,

settled like a gown that smothered all that ailed us.


How we first heard about the hostages

on Facebook, and then the town knelt down to zero,

still as snow once it resolves itself to ground.


How the sidewalk still needed seeding with rock salt.

How even when a person stands still, they can slip.


How we counted the seeds of our blessings.

How our blessings rebounded off the booths like buckshot.


How we each sometimes rebound into being

a country of one self.

How we other times are one self of a city.


How only below zero can we remember

September as that country where we save daylight

like fat over our muscles.


How a woman ran at the chained gym doors

to save her daughter.

How she dropped on the unseeded walk.

How we’ll remember her legs as

a fleet of hummingbirds skidding through snow.


How sometimes, to give something a shot means kill it.

How other times it means just close your eyes.


First published in Iron Horse Literary Review, Labor Day Issue 2013

Saara Myrene Raappana‘s poems appear in such publications as 32 Poems, Blackbird, Cream City Review, Subtropics, The Gettysburg Review, and Verse Daily. She grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in southern China. She’s an editor for Cellpoems, a poetry journal distributed via text message.