“A Battleship Examines Its Faith” by Saara Myrene Raappana

Saara Myrene Raappana


I dream
towels, dust streams,
a downpour of talcum.
I dream arid fields of sorghum.
But down where I’m fattest: frogmen swimming
on wave-wings, stoking my belly with the kindling
of justice. Captain, I’m a billion-shot salute, but guns
aren’t made to pull their own triggers. The Baltic makes me run
until my sides buckle but won’t let me collapse.
I call this salt-soup Heaven, but perhaps
I’m misdirected. The angels
of my dreams never change:
unarmed and dry,
they fly.

from Rattle #35, Summer 2011


Saara Myrene Raappana: “My husband wrote an article about religious iconography in The Battleship Potemkin, and in reading it, I was charmed by the intersecting ideas of the warship, religious devotion, and mutiny. The subject matter was so huge, though, that it cried out for form. I like writing in form because the restrictions force me to surprise myself. After years of trying to be surprising on my own, it’s a great relief. I’d like to give a shout-out to some of the words I’d hoped to fit into this poem that didn’t make it: dreadnought, dazzle camouflage, frigate, bowsprit, Redoubtable, sacristy, chasuble. For a complete list, email me.” (website)

Rattle Logo