The Fieldstone Review

This Road

its onion layers of gravel,
quackgrass, blanket flowers
stitching roots into its ditches,
barn swallows tethered
to strings of startled grasshoppers,
tire tracks aimed
at the frog blink lights
on the horizon, it didn't have
a prayer, all that wind migrating
the topsoil in tangled threads,
coyote running head
down along the shoulder
steam huffing from his nostrils
and the barbed wire strung
parallel to keep the cattle out
or in, spread carcasses of trees
from tornado seasons,
all those rocks pilgriming
back to the field, the same
damn thing every year.

This backroad to where
the grain elevator was,
over land sliced
into thinkable grids
and made to work.
Split souls not knowing
the earth's tongue
but plunging seeds into it
anyway, water oozing a map
too deep to understand,
ghost-thuds of bison,
worms and cities of ants
in those hard-packed
onion layers, high combines
running numbers across
the stubbled surface,
the road as abacus, assuming
something thin, brief, something
that resembles prosperity.