Strange how we go on looking in the lessening

light, along the highway, looking for the things thieves pitched

from the smashed windows of our van as they drove and rifled through:

maps, gospel cassettes, ball gloves, receipts and sermon notes,

sleeping bag and candles scattered over miles, deemed

worthless, the ditches deep with grass, unmown. We’re steeped

in the overrun, the laid low, the pooled and going nowhere,

in the tremolo of early evening, mint-tinged,

damp to the knees, even weeds and beer cans gleam

as if belonging here: we are intent, walking

without speaking, bending to gather each thing

as if it had a broken wing, might have flown but landed

wounded in the tall grass, beating. Strange how we go on

as if things matter, as if this were a place

where something essential could be found.

Cars blow by. A whistling cowbird bends

a tattered reed. We follow the light-licked

papers sailing above the grass, the field encroaching,

last winter’s road-salt leaching down.

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