Two Poems by Morgan O.H. McCune

Letter of Long Grass

We urge whomever responsible
To address this matter very
Urgently; there is danger,
And if not addressed
A team must be dispatched.

Look--let bees tangle
The leggy oregano, let spiders
Spin in wild blades of rough;
Let each wasp bring
Its blessing of sharp attention
To heal what has been mown.


Kelp, I learn at the aquarium,
have holdfasts to anchor them,
stipes like stems, bladders to lift
blades to the sun. I try to trace
a line to its end, but it moves
like memory, bleeds into other
lines, and the whole view sways,
dizzying. Fish cruise between
dark and light, thoughts in salt-water.


For these two women to harvest
seaweed, they must venture
into bitter surf with sharp
knives, wrestle the living ropes,
cut them free, twirl them
into baskets that they then
must keep from the sea.
They load the boat heavy,
steer home while the sea pulls.


We ignore storm warnings, afraid
we’ll miss our chance. Vacations are
rare as reunions, and we’re taut
cables stretched from ship
to foundering ship. We arrive at a beach
piled with seaweed, ugly and shocking.
But what’s familiar about this smell?--
natural as chemical signals, as beach,
storm, the salvation of a weed
absorbing surge.

Assistant Editor Morgan O.H. McCune recently retired from Pittsburg State University in southeast Kansas. Now based in Topeka, she holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis (1991) and an M.L.S. from Emporia State University (2002). Her poems have been published in River Styx, Flint Hills Review, and other places. 


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