(and sometimes we grieve the inanimate)
State Park Road, Wisconsin
etched with storied pot-holes and grit,
you are the pocked face of a midwestern parade queen
waving and reaching your quiet song,
proud and natural and knowing.
summon your horizontal kingdom
and we bow in awe.
at the climax of summer’s romance,
you are unbuttoned and sweating,
your poise an upward reception
of bicycle tires and slow fertilizing feet.
you yawn and sway like a hammock as
crickets and manure hypnotize themselves
into feeling beautiful.
and you reach on.
leaves turn orange,
orange cap and overalls
hot orange tang in an orange mug
crisscross ribbons across your spine
and mock the slain flesh that emerges,
still wild-eyed from dog day’s deception.
glittered frost and your stained rosy cheeks
hush the horror and leave summer ashamed
and naked in her naivete.
and you reach on,
frozen puddles bow to frozen sky
bows to frozen breath.
even the sparkle of deceit
now fades under a gown of black,
so black it’s white. so white, decades of roadkill
at last feel tucked in for the night
and wonder if their souls have been saved.
slow feet are now no feet,
slow cars are now ditched cars.
your vertebrae is calloused
as pulseless life forgets the impulse to live.
and you reach on,
bones creak and new expressive fractures
threaten your beauty queen poise.
but you laugh
as light and shadow only make you more regal
and the hum of
a million winged harbingers
swarm to anoint you with the green
stench of another cycle.
and you receive them.
their dark water chant hovers over your breast.
and you love them,
their imbecile promise of rebirth despite time’s ultimatum.
pocked and mud-puddled and devoted
you call to the horizon
unfurl the mess and insanity of your eternal wingspan
and reach on.