“NORTH DAKOTA”

I see
horses standing
perfectly still
beside
perfectly still
standing water.
Five white ponies
ankle high
in the brightly
reflected grey
of a meandering
morning.

I see straw stand
straight
except where it is
perfectly bent.
The yellow head
and red winged
blackbirds
perch
perfectly still
on ochre over
emerald.

Canadian geese
fly, float, and
honk
two by two;
lovers south
of the border.

The sky moves slow
in North Dakota
and I yawn,
going back
to a place
whose time
has gone.

It's futile,
but the farmers
still plow
in the field
and
orange cows
lay out like swine.
Last nights rain
fills where it falls.
It fills every tire tread;
every footprint.
It fills every depression
where someone sank
a trifle lower
into the mud.

It might have been
prettier in the snow,
but all I see now
is the mud
and all I hear is
the slow
ticking on the wrists
of train passengers;
their patience
perfectly precisioned
to their destination.

It might have been.
Oh,
how it might have been
in another season
that I wasn't present.
But it's already been
a very long time
since then.

It's been
too late.
It's been
too little.
It's been
too bad,
but
it's been
worse.

Now, again,
we stop for freight
and our train
bows as it bends.
I sit very straight,
quietly reflecting
like everything
in this place,
knowing its place.

It's all
almost enough
to make me smile
as
distance descends
on the horizon
and the old
farm houses
grow older.
All
structures
fall apart
a trifle more
as every moment
slips by in
the quiet still
of this train
ebbing serpentine
from North Dakota
West to Montana.

narrative poem written on 05-25-2014 by: on mattkane.com
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