“For Beryl Markham, Bush Pilot, Adventurer, and Author (1902-1986)” by Anna Weaver

“…this girl, who is to my knowledge very unpleasant and we might even say a high-grade bitch, can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers.”
~Ernest Hemingway

If I could, I too would be my own scandal
in trousers, but things have changed.
We have it easier now, our kind—
even if most people still assume
we’d be happier married.

These days, no one is bothered
that we prefer the smell of diesel over dahlias,
or that we travel under arms. They don’t comment
on our muscles or the leather we wear
to block the forces of gods and men.

Still, we haven’t abandoned our taste
for headwinds. And even though it’s harder
to get lost, we still keep one eye to the ground,
one to the fuel gauge.

If you and I could travel a mile together,
we’d go at night—when the world still speaks
our language and gauges bow to instinct
and the best conversations still cut
through cigar smoke.

You’d be pleased, no doubt, to hear
how men still salt their compliments
by calling us all the same old names.
(May they always do us that honor,
to keep us from going soft.)

And I’m certain we would end the night
with a drink—baring our teeth against the burn
in a silent toast. A nod to our kind
and a warning for those who still doubt
that a woman can love like she shoots—
the red fruit of her heart chambered,
one exhale away from loose.

Anna Weaver writes as a former soldier, a lover of flatlands, and a woman “with loyalties scattered over the landscape.” Her poems have appeared in Connotation Press, O-Dark-Thirty, One, and elsewhere, earning nominations for the Pushcart and other prizes. According to Google, Anna is the world’s only open mic tourist, having performed her poetry in 31 states and counting. She lives in North Carolina with her two daughters.