Sunday, June 9, 2013

An Iowan brown

Brown like the shadowed undersides of overpasses,
they flicker: a flock of birds against clouds
of glistering, oil-barrel ashes, clouds
of poured concrete, still drying, like drops
of water from rusted metal, a post-
industrial leap of muscle and friable
bones from earth and electrical wires
to the sky.
In a seemly rush they are flying
away from the blue and deepening blush
of rain.

(And on the same stiffening wind,
a drift of distant cows: a waft
as faraway warm and soft as each mildering
roadside farm, each squat and sagging
building rotting like an unpicked fruit:
a red body sickly sinking to the ground,
its skin giving way, in the "smokeless burning
of decay" -- of time -- to a fine, compostible brown.)

(Found and finished 9 June 2013 while following I-80 from Chicago to Omaha, first via a lovely Y-shaped flock of birds flying north across the highway ahead of a tremendous cloudburst, then remembering the astonishment of a friend -- who had recently driven across the Midwest for the first time -- at the industrial remains of the 'Rust Belt'. The quotation is from Frost, "The Wood-Pile".)

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