Authenticity and other poems by Anne Britting Oleson


(Salisbury, Tea Time)


No one wraps fish and chips

in newspaper anymore, or

serves them up in cones.

Still, the waxed paper

the counterman at the chippy

on Fisherton Street used

to wrap his wares sports

haddock swimming cheerily

among the oily creases—

almost as cheerily

as that burly red-faced man

points in the direction

of the Avon: you want

to have your bit with Constable.

So we wander through

marsh grass on wooden walkways

the painter never would have seen,

and which might have spoiled

his views—much as being served

previously frozen plaice and potatoes

at the too-touristy pub last night

nearly brought me to mutiny.

Trade-offs, they’re called, mod cons

for atmosphere. I don’t want them.

I want to feel the deep fry

of haddock and chips reach

straight to a heart clogged

by a deserted stretch of river drifting

to a cathedral spire in the sunset,

while I lick the grease from my fingers.







Your beagle howls in transport when

I pull into the driveway,

waddles in elderly dog fashion

across the gravel to the end

of his leash. You’re here!


My vacation: real-life suspension

of a single evening on your deck,

this August twilight when

World war II-era bombers

from the flight show in the next town

drone overhead, wingtips nearly touching;


where the flames in the firepit

crackle and sputter over a bed

of red coal; where a large tumbler

appears magically in my hand, ice clinking,

lime floating like a single

deserted tropical island at nightfall.







A warm wind echoes out of the south,

up Route 9 from the lowlands

to us on the side of the mountain.

A child’s breath or rain on the skin,

it draws out a welcome rawness.


In November the soft air twists

perceptions of what is until

I want to shed my clothes

and dance in the black stubble

of the neighbor’s hayfield.

I want to taste your kiss flavored

with mint and smoke, beer and longing.







Photo on 2011-04-28 at 14.35 #2Anne Britting Oleson has been published widely on four continents.  She earned her MFA at the Stonecoast program of USM.  She has published two chapbooks, The Church of St. Materiana (2007) and The Beauty of It (2010). A third chapbook, Planes and Trains and Automobiles, is forthcoming from Portent Press (UK), and a novel, The Book of the Mandolin Player, is forthcoming from B Ink Publishing–both in 2015.

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