(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.
GIN AND TONIC, BOOTHBAY
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.
SOUTH WIND IN NOVEMBER
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.
Anne 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.