Poems by Laura Sobbott Ross

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Evacuation

by Laura Sobbott Ross

From Canary Summer 2011

Laura lives in central Florida in the Upper St. John's Watershed.

Damn, the fuel tanks are empty again.

Coastal dwellers and suburbanites

have raided our rural outpost,

have sniffed the scent of gasoline

from beyond the orange groves and the bait shop,

and the El Mercadito Del Pueblo.

They don’t even sell lottery tickets here,

for God’s sake.


We will wait out the hurricane at home again,

at an equilateral distance from both coastlines

beneath the umbrella of the live oak trees,

limbs weighted with Spanish moss,

trunks as thick as silos.

Right now the sky is still

a magnificent shade of pale oblivion.


Even as the cows bow their heads

into the pasture grass

and the wild morning glories

twine fence posts like bulwarks—

out on the highways and the back roads,

and in every available hotel room,

the masses huddle and ponder

the premonitions of satellites.




In Wyoming
   Grand Teton National Park

by Laura Sobbott Ross

From Canary Summer 2012

We stand at the edge,
    not unlike the ancient

biblical multitudes,
    with their carts upturned,

their bundles of sage
    and wildflowers.

Compelled by a longing
    to be awed if even as briefly

as the hemline that brushed
    the blind man’s fingertips.

His new eyes, our own,
    enrapt and swallowing

every luminous nuance
    of sky, mountain, sun.




Mastodon Bones Found in Backyard Pond
Portland, Michigan

by Laura Sobbott Ross

From Canary Spring 2012

All they’d wanted was a fish pond.
Trout and bass for him to chum
with stale bread and a spotlight
knifed across ripples rocking
the water lilies, soft as origami.
Maybe a willow or a pink
dogwood for her, a thatched feeder
for the winter finches, but not these

bones, these gargantuan femurs,
these ribs unhooked from the spine
of consecrated earth. All this time,
something ancient asleep out there
between the stakes they’d walked
in canvas shoes to mark the particulars
of their dreaming. The mastodon,

predating Moses, a fossilized
anecdote for hunger, buried by hunters
who never came back for what slid
beneath the glacier’s pale blue hull.
The species of elephant, pachyderm,
mamut americanum, morphing,
in the meantime, into something
more compact and willing to be lead
in circles or lift spangled ladies
into stale cupolas of striped tents.

Not like this wildness unsettled
in the shallows of a would-be pond.
Tusk and toe and kneecap already
sifted from toppled topography,
the his-and-her map of exacted landscape—
borders of hosta, flagstones, a trellis
twirled in clematis. Still, she would pan
the up heaved site for teeth, old as stars,
scattered in dark, humid loam.




Snorkeling in Bonaire

by Laura Sobbott Ross

From Canary Fall 2011

Tow and pitch of tide,
its translucent aqua lip
easing across
a shoreline of snipped coral,
the sand blasted facets
of sea glass emeralds.

I tip my face into another universe,
breath in. Crimped in neon,
fishes scatter, eyes flat as hard candy.

Down here, anything
with a little give
goes diaphanous.
The silky current
shushing the howl of tourists
and orange awnings.

Strangers with masks on,
we are careful
not to bump against one another
as we chase what hovers and flits,
the iridescence that ribbons
from scale to scale and back

on shore, beyond
flat, furred stones,
the fish will surface
like stars from their cool well.
Earth, soft as a breadcrumb,
shedding rings that tempt and widen.

I know the way the limpets
don’t want to let go.




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