poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

Blog Archive

Monday, January 31, 2011

Prescription for Despair

Three portraits of the same woman hang
in one dull room. In the first she is surrounded
by children. In the second she is jumping off a bridge.
In the third she is giving guns to children. How they squeeze
up next to her. How they smile. Bang bang.
Trying gets in the way, she says. Just do it.
She is your mother.
I am your gun.
A raven pecks at the snow on the side of the road.
Beside the raven a fat squirrel digs.
Rainbows circle out of wet oil
enlightening this black street on a dull day.
You're trying too hard. Long live the million-heiress.
Rainbows oil-slick out from your wet heart.
What snow would you not melt for me?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Smell of Snow

Casting open the bright back windows, this is what she wants to smell:
orange blossoms, olives, cypress, bog myrtle, jasmine, garlic and mist.
Instead it's just the smell of snow. So much snow. Too much.
Who was the first in this family to figure
planting a stand of dense trees thickly
would protect the grape arbors from that specific wind?
Nothing so sweet as the smell of snow.
It is the smell of nothing. The smell of that sweet past:
a laughing, unbroken horse
and hedgehogs having a party in a cave. Then a nap.
Safe as houses. Melodeon music. Smell of hawthorne and history.
Jaunting, wagonettes, strawboaters, snow.
Mouth-organs, side-cars, thimble-riggers, snow.
Snow is what we've kept. Snow is what will continue.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Otters In Lilac Blossoms

Well that's one way to enjoy a war. Follow the parade, the horse trail, the hawk-eyed and save the city. Exaggerate, say: "They call me Money." Take two more than you need. Call it change.

Change the nature of your fears. One warrior dreams gently. Dreams tell you to take the canoe because it's faster than otters. Follow the sunrise. Exaggerate your aim. Save the gun, wrap it in plastic and put it in the fridge.

Save the flicker in the woods. Save the trumpet. Exaggerate the differences so you can know what the enemy looks like right away, and she will know you, sexless pioneer, as otters fall in love in the lilac blossoms. Who to follow? What maps to take? What stays here, poor dear, what brave fellow feels familiar?

Take the moon out of the sky and save the sun. Follow the follower. Change the map while one weeps water and the other weeps an exaggerated blood bath.

Exaggerating otters say the trap
takes he who walks the same trail twice.
One otter says kill, then the same otter says
save. While the scout says,
"Change trails if you don't want anyone
following you down."

Follow the otters into their homes and they'll give you exaggerated reports of powder and provisions running low. This will surely change the fervor of the reinforcements. Take the war office. Save the otters. One trap kills all.

Change nothing. Follow what gets through.
One cloud over the moon greatly exaggerates the darkness. Danger
takes belief. Save your own hand. Save your own beautiful hands.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


She hates people from India.
Because they don't kill animals.

Here there is no ocean
to reflect the sun back in scattered
handfuls over flowers and trees.
With time, all parts of the shipwreck become sand.

Shook out like chicken feed, that sunlight was.
Coastal light ducks
under the waves and sucks
ancient salt-preserved meats from shipwrecked bones.
All wrecks end in the suck.

Splash shapes cut the air and are filled with wings.
Whales taught me how to swim
(all wrecks end something)
whales taught me how
(all wrecks end)
in my dreams with the happiness that only animals can have.