Plains Navigation

Over the rise to the lone tree,
the one that marks the right left turn,
the tree full and round,
uncluttered by the muttering
tangling limbs of crowd oak
jostling pine and mobbing
silver maple that snap the wind
into fingers and clenched fists
of hail – big as jawbreakers.

That’s where the twist lives,
just past the stump yard
trying to petrify, turning
wood to stone,
before the rot hits home,
before nobody knows
where the hell to turn no more.

We found our way once,
before the willow went down,
so it took some time –
took some time til
we saw that the redtail
always dives into the same deep
culvert where asparagus
is marked with upturned
boots that never fit anyway.

We all find our own way home,

It takes some time
but we always find a sign:
bleached whitetail spine below the tracks;
Christmas-no-more trees, gripping tinsel
in a ditch; sag-bottom Bud box
connecting dots to thrash bags
strung out on barbed wire fences.
Turn there, left? right?
Don’t really matter much,
cuz all these nameless roads
are numbered as such.

Image: Omar Lopez on Unsplash

7 Thoughts

    1. Thank you, Lance. When I first moved here, I was taken aback by the way locals would give directions to wherever I was going. It was very easy to get lost trying to follow their prompts. But now, I gleefully get to confuse the uninitiated. Bwahahahaha.


      1. Yes, and after getting thoroughly confused, they come up on a guy mending fence that says, “I don’t know who told you that. That bridge got washed out months ago. Soooo, let’s see, turn left at the Sorenson place, head down to Midway, Raven’s got some balloons up, so you can’t miss it. Don’t get confused, though, the Jorgensens’ got a wedding going on, so don’t go left at the mailbox, just keep going straight until you hit Ejnar Olsen’s barn, can’t miss it, the roof caved in, turn left there, take you right to the highway” LOL.


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