Rose Auslander


Rose Auslander lives on Cape Cod. Obsessed with water, she is the author of the book Wild Water Child, the chapbooks Folding Water, Hints, and The Dolphin in the Gowanus, and poems in the Berkeley Poetry Review, RHINO, Rumble Fish, Tinderbox, and Tupelo Quarterly. She earned her MFA in Poetry at Warren Wilson.

Photo credit: Liz Hanellin

Praise the wind in your face, the hill rising before you

Praise the rain as it stings your eyes, good morning, praise every puddle & each truck splashing you, wave to the tide going out as you reach the harbor, the off-season boats drifting, cheating on their moorings & the green-blue water curdling around them, praise the ticks in the wet grass, reverently keep them from your legs, praise your ankles for healing & your knees for not hurting today, yes, thank your mother for those weak ankles & your father for the troubled knees, thank your brother who used to flick the ticks in the grass at you, who praised the wind as it blew you back downhill, bless the boat your father was always going to get next year & the faith you always hoped to feel, bless all you never did & probably won’t do, good morning, thank the early shadows for letting you sail on that boat that doesn’t exist, thank all that never was, praise all that disappears.

After some two years of pandemic on top of everything we’ve done to the earth & to each other, my poems have been a little . . . sad. A long-suffering friend said maybe try for something happier & (coincidentally?) a prompt suggested a praise poem. Now, I’m not someone to go about shouting praises. Maybe back when I fell in love for the first time . . . though honestly, I remember telling my new love I’d never been so unhappy in my life. So how was I to go showering praises now, while I’m still grieving for a dear friend and my mother is in hospice? All I’ve been able to do is to pull on my Hoka One One’s and run. Which can bring a kind of painful catharsis, possibly worthy of praise. So I decided to try running into a poem praising all that burdens me, all I’ve lost & no doubt will lose. Strangely, it’s helped ease the hurt, at least a little. I hope it brings some comfort to you, too.