One Canoe

By Maureen N. McLane Maureen N. McLane
Recalcitrant elephants
begin to attack.
The angry young males
of murdered mothers.

Any Martian could see it
how we did it

The historian of   the future
is amazed. So much feeling

once in so many bodies.
But maybe they were different
didn’t think or feel that much.

Apocalypse is easy
Thinking’s hard

Should we summon
a Roman Stoic to narrate?
Someone secretly thrilled
by the gore?

The clouds move through
an Adirondack sky unscored
by satellite towers.

People want what they want
& what they want is never one thing.

All that desire
sliming a space rock

Shivering the air
a loon’s cry.
There is only so much
you can care for or carry

& for this there is
no one canoe

Source: Poetry (September 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2013
 Maureen  N. McLane


Maureen N. McLane grew up in upstate New York and was educated at Harvard, Oxford, and the University of Chicago. She is the author of World Enough (2010), and Same Life: poems (2008); and This Blue (2014); as well as the poetry chapbook, This Carrying Life (2006). She has also published two books of literary criticism, Balladeering, Minstrelsy, and the Making of British Romantic Poetry (2008) and Romanticism and the Human . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, The Mind, Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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