Saturday, April 11, 2009

How things come together

Today's poem comes from 8 years ago, but it's really a mish-mash of several poems I've written over the last few years. Every once in awhile, when I visit Colorado, my childhood home, I sense with full force the history of the place, the westward expansion, the hope for gold, the pioneering families struggling to eke out a living. There's a romance in it, but also a sense of connection to the land, the mountains, this place where my first memories were made. These thoughts over the years have finally melded into a work of fiction that I am currently writing.

June 19, 2001, Touchdown

In the flat plains
north of Denver,
our plane bumps
onto the runway
in midafternoon sun.

Suddenly, I am in 1880,
a settler
in the red dirt.
My hair, in a bun,
my dress,
long as Sunday,
my hands,
rough and calloused.
I shield my eyes from the sun
as I look for my man
through dusty wind,
waiting for gold,
settling for flour
to feed my family.

A memory engulfs me:
the claustrophobia
of trees,
of western Pennsylvania,
crowding thick upon me.

But now I open my eyes,
stretch out my
wide as miles,

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