“If I believed in poems, we all live in this country” Originally Published: 
       Southern Indiana Review, Volume XVI Number 1, University of Southern Indiana 2009

If I believed poems, we all live in this country 

I’ve never seen a hawk hover in thermals, dark slash against sky, or smelled hay from the

field, woken to bells or the whiff of dung through open windows, my moment of repose in starched sheets seeding reflections upon nature and myself.

I know mean houses, fenced yards pawed bare by outdoor dogs, our day jobs and night jobs

for computer printed checks, spelling out deductions to the penny: Fed. State. Social Security. No penny too little to take.

And I know Food City, the Westgate Mall, and 299 channels of cable TV.  I know, the

bruised haze of exhaust, the rhythms of trains and the chaos of air horns passing and passing and always the howling premonitions of dogs.

And I know the smell of gasoline.  It leaks from a pink Chevrolet—not a Cadillac—next

door.  So close to the song but not the song, as close as a reasonable person should get, like gasoline that blots out even the imagination of hay.