Today's poem is by David Shumate

If you Hire a Poet to Draw a Map

He will take liberties with the land. He'll unwind rivers that
offend him. He'll move mountain ranges that get in his way. He'll
expand the coastline to make room for more otters and seals. He'll
slide the equator a dozen degrees north so the winters won't be
quite so harsh. He'll rename major cities after the lovers of his
past. On the east coast there's Penelope, so plump and polluted.
And Melinda in the west, awash in fragrant flowers. He's likely to
add a few states. Some as small as a cafe. Others span great swaths
of the open sea. He'll sketch in highways where it pleases him. The
black ones are designed for families and grandmothers traveling
alone. The green and orange roads are not for novices. They twist
and turn. Go underground for miles. Pass right over lakes. Then
the asphalt ends. You get out of your car. A farmer greets you by a
fence. He hands you a carrot. You ask the obvious question. And
he replies, Yes. This is the end of the orange road.

Copyright © 2014 David Shumate All rights reserved
from Kimonos in the Closet
University of Pittsburgh Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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