Mistress Melody Brown, 1898

by Susan Terris

You can call me Melody Brown–not my real name, of course,
any more than Oakley is hers. I am waiting with my weapon
and cache of munitions, because Annie has written President
McKinley a letter. And I am in it. Imagine me: plain and unmarried,
a lost Melody. But my time has come, because I am one of Annie’s
(she taught each of us how to fire) 50 sharpshooter ladies.
Now we are on full alert for marching orders from our president.
My widowed momma would weep her way to church, cry
2 hankies if she caught wind of this. She taught me to cook and
can, to knit wool sweaters and make lace curtains. And she’s not
yet done selling me. She’s bee-in-a-bonnet for a widower with
children. Perish the thought, when I’m armed and hot to trot.
If or when we war with Spain, we shall all sail off to save
our country, adventurous, 50 strong ladies, with fierce
little Annie Oakley firing her shotgun and blazing the way.

Copyright 2016, Susan Terris

Susan Terris’ most recent book is Ghost Of Yesterday: New & Selected Poems (Marsh Hawk Press). She is the author of six books of poetry, 15 chapbooks, and three artist’s books. Journal publications include The Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, and Ploughshares. Poems of hers appear in Pushcart Prize XXXI and Best American Poetry 2015. Susan edits Spillway Magazine. Her chapbook, Memos, was published by Omnidawn in 2015. Omnidawn will publish her book, Take Two: Film Studies, in 2017. http://www.susanterris.com

Prior Contents Next