Grassblade thin, weeks eating
only rain, then slept on roadsides, in fields
of poison ivy, just out of Tahoe.
Caught a ride into the Black Rock desert
where superhighway dwindles
to 1940s vista,
having just escaped the industrial
wasteland of Anaheim,
the marble and iron of Santa Monica,
so lizards for shoes, vultures
for patrolmen, the Gila
no monster but night watchman,
murderous trailer parks,
the mumblings of a drunk driver
at 110 through white storms of crystalline
dust. How does the mind map
the body’s passage? Nothing escapes
the act of renaming. I recall
the postmodern world when it was modern,
flowers in Death Valley, small
as poppy pearls, the boys
from Texas salvaging the hitchhiker,
dragged through red lights
in Salt Lake, across coffee-free
like mules on the twenty-team
Borax commercial. What makes
the poem impossible is its absentmindedness.
Until Denver. Then sleep,
if you remember, and sweet ice tea.
George Moore has poems forthcoming in Grain, Antigonish Review, Queen's Quarterly, Stand, and recently in Arc, Orbis, and Valparaiso, but has also published in The Atlantic, Poetry, North American Review, and elsewhere. His sixth collection, Saint Agnes Outside the Walls, will be published by FutureCycle Press this summer, and his last, Children's Drawings of the Universe, was published with Salmon Poetry in 2015.