The 2River View 18.1 (Fall 2013)

Marjorie Maddox

Annie Oakley

      Buffalo Bill shook his sombrero
      to start the crowd clapping for your big finale,

before your mustang lurched under your kick
      each week for seventeen years,
      and those in the stands of The Wild West Show
      waved their arms like lariats in the dusty air,

before you tossed back your hair,
      cocked that sleek rifle, and aimed
      at the soaring glass balls
      that splattered like pigeons at your bullet’s touch,

you were just
      Phoebe of Patterson Township,
      nine, a child with a gun,
      distraught over the death of your father;
      a girl walking away
      from Woodington, Ohio,
      into the wild woods,
      where, before an audience of pine,
      you would hunt food for the hungry
      family you’d left behind.

Battlefield in Peacetime

Not four score seven years ago—but one
we joined our homes, our names, our aging hands
for and against the battles that would come
and treaties fired, as those from this land

of Gettysburg, the dirt that bloodied love
for love of other still. Husband, we live
out of two pasts: a weakened frontline of
dismembered plots; unplowed field left if

not remembered. We, almost pacifists
in such as love, count up all others' wars
(here, and in our lives): their fists and kisses
loaded and exploded; the way our scars

in middle-age forget to fight. Defend
to death with me our peace, my allied friend.

Marjorie Maddox is Director of Creative Writing and Professor of English at Lock Haven University. A Sage Graduate Fellow of Cornell University (MFA) and recipient of numerous awards, she has published 9 poetry collections, most recently Local News from Someplace Else. contactwebsite

« Previous Next »