A Poem of Parting

Last night I went to my last Rock Springs Poetry Slam hosted by my good friend, Janice Grover-Roosa (yes, another hyphenated last name!) of the local library system. While my first passion is writing books, there is something about the instant gratification of poetry that I love, and that has kept me coming back to the form over the years.

This is one of the pieces I read last night:

Wyoming Love Song

A sweet country
Ignored by most
Lost on the map intentionally.
A place of rough necks
And oil widows
The wispiest of rainbows perched atop
Precarious citadels.
Sandstone slipping down
Adobe towns
Full of swallows
And swallowed hikers
Led astray
By intermittent appearances of civilization.

Deer staring with children’s eyes
When surprised at first light
Hawks fan above
Dodging wild winds
Air currents that
Rip at clothes
Hit at houses
And make skin so raw.

A heart-stopping flap of wings
Erupting from sage brush
0 to 60 in a coyote’s breath
A countryside of death
Of Malthusian midnights
Where bones are picked clean
By the sun
By everyone
Everything fighting for a bit of green
A hint of happiness
Barest survival.

No bucolic panoramas
But people always try
Always irrigate
Now irradiate
Grasping for biblical splendour
In what some might call
The land of Cain.
The land of rocks
Of sky
Of little ties to populations
Of bigger size.

Peopled by antelope
Running from predators long gone
White rumps still flashing
Shouting urgency
While humans saunter
Unhurried
Heads up, nods exchanged
A currency of grudging respect
Where fancy doesn’t fuel you
Like a big buffet
Like cheap gas, bud light
Or half-strength coffee
Like slow friendships
Lengths of prairie grass tucked together.

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© 2011 Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail. All Rights Reserved.