(my body)


is a


journey            four





from here


I’m the poet of the plain;

the poet of standing waters,

of lungs gone to seed, of

ancient seepage


but as the song gets

closer to me, it

loses its place



collapses under the eye’s

weight into a fistful of

smokestacks, a waterless

tower, five drums tagged


grasses’ flat momen-

tum against me


all this hear

lost in the horizon,

I’s a shrinking map


a played out land    “a

place that threatens

to become no place”

the sq. ft. of the black

prairie soil beneath me


“that’s the thing

about turf—it ain’t what

it used to be”


whole country,

no longer demarcated by

rivers, but fallow and

gridded, barbed and razor-

wired               “Kansas City,”

Wilbert Harrison screaming

into all-night radio about

those “crazy little women”

a voice sunk in soil (not a-

cross it)   territory lost in Sun-

day drives and half-assed



some prophet yammering

about the “photosynthesis of the


the prairie gods

laugh him down—they prefer the

reptile’s cold hiss, slime mold

slipping current, the stream,

the shallow well, the spring,

the crick, the water-


“the begin of the end of things”


against the cartographer’s dream—

every water in its place, the Atlantic

shelved and every blues in its delta

—but the Lakes, the “national work

bench” or the empire’s slop sink?  the

canal, the seaway, and “international



to recover the ponds

to recover the streams

to recover the aquifers

to recover myself






Photo by Denise Krebs