Winner of the 2014 Cowles Poetry Book Prize, the fetchingly named Underwater Panther is Angie Macri’s debut collection of poems rooted in Mississippi River landscapes and lore.
Is a constellation bigger than the house, than the state?
My son leans into my answer like a hard turn. I describe
the lion’s size, measure the bear’s back, and he is excited
that there’s a dragon, too. It curls around the sky, waiting,
where he will piece together its scales. He draws lines
and dots, alive in his mind pacing the sky, sure as I’m sitting
by his side. There is the brother in search of his sister,
taken by the gods, and the fragments of the dragon
that he killed, the teeth he planted so that armies rose
to help him build Thebes. I tell my son of home,
the running slave, the Mississippi with white ash and clay.
The dragon was killed guarding the water from a spring.
His body of venom, the spots on his back glitter around
us even now, like men born armed, upset from the ground.
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