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J. Allyn Rosser

J. Allyn Rosser

J. Allyn Rosser' s fourth collection of poems, Mimi's Trapeze, appeared in fall 2014 from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her previous books are Foiled Again, Misery Prefigured, and Bright Moves. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ohio Arts Council. She teaches at Ohio University, where she edits New Ohio Review.

Prayer to Poseidon

                        Using a fleet of barges equipped with pumps, [Bill] Gates

                               and his team believe a hurricane can be slowed by cooling 

                               the tropical waters that fuel its progress.  
                                                                           —The Times

Of course you've done your godly best to save
that part of Earth too mutable and wet
for us to carve or pave.

Morning, noon, and night you pound and scour
shores, leave power in powdered form, beget
tons of eternities per hour.

Grandly you draw turbulence beyond
our plural grasping, and allow us to forget
the depth of your command:

the gale-force, murky heavings of your breast
no age has known to lay its head against
and live. It's true, in the past

we recklessly plundered, dumped and drilled,
believing ourselves mightier than you.
Forgive us: we still do.

Some Say

While some want to have some control of the day,
others don't, and would mostly rather be told
what ought to be done, what to have. Some say

it's hard to know what's right, how to feel. They weigh
their thoughts on a scale of They Say. They're cold
at the weatherman's word, and leave the controls of the day

in his nebulous hands. Should they drive, fly, or stay?
They like to be told when to stay, raise or fold:
how little to owe, how much to have. Some say

it's best that god or government hold sway
over when to love, eat fish, die, buy gold.
But others insist on controlling the day

with laughter and polkas at noon, turning away
from spite. Their being is flesh-and-blood bold.
They won't be had. It can't be helped that some say

please too softly, nod to keep out of the fray,
draft their wills early, agreeing to be old.
Wish them a private way to control their day,
how many they'll have. One ought to have some say.


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