Memory’s a stranger in a diner
eating the blue plate special,
rubbing one hairy ear with a spoon.
Don’t look back the way a train
leaves the station and the countryside
shrinks, the tiny red barns
glowing in warm yellow light.
What I have laid aside extends for miles.
I’ve been riding with the crop duster,
outdated county map in hand,
wheel and dive, wind bucking the struts,
following my instincts into the crosshatch
of fencerows, the cloud of forgetfulness
poisonous beyond the fields’ lush edges.
Each time it’s like visiting a museum,
the early years taming this midwest
glacial till. Scythes. Old threshing machines.
Frost on all the exhibits. Some kind
of raw rust on the plow blades.
The cold shine of preserved furrows.