Three Prose Poems by Theresa Wyatt
The Raisin River
War of 1812
The name of the bloodletting capture was The Battle of Raisin River – an immense chapter of fire, a fierce British counterattack that left no truce – only flaming houses, hundreds massacred, captured or maimed. How does a river get a name like that, so benign and homespun, lyrical and free? What lies inside words like Wounded Knee, Bull Run or Normandy is not hard to say. There lies memory, honor, and sometimes sacred water like Raisin River, which flows off the tongue like a song. A name and a river so pretty, even the crows waited an extra day.
To A Lighthouse
Just because I’ve never really been shipwrecked, doesn’t mean my mind and body haven’t felt it so. Doesn’t mean I couldn’t pardon crashing waves for tossing me about a raspy schooner lost at sea fighting off an evil cancer’s damnation. Because then, I could meet you up close when daybreak comes, land dazed at your feet, awaken the mariner’s tale and conquer the bluffs. I could rise up from the shoal, shield my eyes from the sun and cherish the rescue. I could open your wooden door – pass through divides of oil and coal, spiral upwards on iron stairs, steady myself at the dizzy top, watch waves riot forth washing Earth’s face and muscle below a dark and wild foam – where I’d raise the courage of second chances, shine your prisms and set the wicks, steer your beams of light against a purging sea – where I’d fold my fears, Lighthouse, into your illuminations, balance myself spent against the rails, and then, ready to tell my story, disappear by dawn.
Chronically Lost Syndrome
You could try breathing in, follow the strong pine scent flanking the whiteout road up the hill, but maybe your sense of smell is diminished along with that of direction, no matter to you these things called maps. Blindsided before – your phone always dead, dear friends evenly worried, you chafe at subtle suggestion, hang on to false claims – But there were no signs! Saving its energy, no longer willing to squander its talent, the moon dims when it sees you coming, shelters in place, rides out the storm that was forecast days in advance.
Theresa Wyatt is the author of Hurled Into Gettysburg (BlazeVox Books, 2018), her first collection of historically based poem stories. Recent work appears in New Micro (W.W. Norton, 2018), The Healing Muse, and Spillway. Theresa was a finalist in Prime Number Magazine’s Award for Poetry and The Best Small Fictions in 2017. Her poetry is forthcoming in a new “narrative poetic medicine” anthology, Still You, (Wolf Ridge Press). The author resides near Buffalo, New York