Traveling along the edge and over
North of North, where the names become biblical,
North of Hebron, North of Palestine,
Where the earth has been turned
Like giant piles of ash, the remnants of a Texas-size barbecue,
Death gray and charcoal black, turned by machines
Preparing for zero-lot lines, zoning battles and water rationing,
Between one suburban civilization and another, filling
In the gaps and spaces, the fields of youth and perhaps someone’s
Now home to a open glen of huge concrete forms,
Shaped like hollow breath mints, waiting
To be sunk in the ashen earth and have a neighborhood’s waste
Travel through it, the giant schools and their grounds wait
For the children of well paid professionals not afraid of debt
To buy homes not yet built, in developments with matching
Theme based street names that have nothing to do with
The ones across the Parkway…
For when it’s prairie, it takes a developer’s eye to see the town
But when the earth is turned, I can even see the sea of matching roofs,
The school zone lights flashing, The lawn sprinklers kicking on
As the sun goes down, the grid growing from an airplane
As it approaches the runway.
I return to my older neighborhood, the one with the street names
Of Southern women no longer used, where the houses have settled
And shifted and the wiring is so old that
The lamp above the kitchen sink flickers along with the cycling appliances, I feel at home but I can’t see what this place looked like
Before the earth was turned to the sky.
I guess a country boy just misses the rock he sat on as a child,
Waiting for words like these to be delivered.
It’s gone now too, replaced by a driveway laid by a neighbor
I never met.