Today's poem is by Nancy Cherry


In Oklahoma, there are windows without houses.
Propped against foundations or each other, they resist
all weather—shattered glass caught
in the glazing of what's been abandoned.
In the panhandle, barns list—one side bleached
in the treeless landscape, the other nailed by hard ice.
Woodpiles black with old water. A kitchen door.
A glass knob. A phonograph. We were headed
back to California in a Cutlass Cruiser
with three weeks of laundry, beer cans,
and fireworks bought on Cherokee land.
Summer in one direction, winter doubling back.
We stopped at a vacant ranch house built on hard pan,
our first agreement in 200 miles. There was a well
at the center, the aluminum handle off a Frigidaire,
a load of river rock. We dropped pebbles
down the well's long echo. Everything blowing
amid the wild wheat—even our photos
came out brown, sun-dusted. Finally
everything we dropped fell in silence.
We tried Arizona and New Mexico, Route 66.
We lasted as far as Barstow. We should have known
back in Guymon as a tornado blew through the night.
White catalpa flowers torn from trees
nowhere in sight—we woke to Highway 56
brilliant with litter.

Copyright © 2009 Nancy Cherry All rights reserved
from Cimarron Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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