Geography is Linear Robin Anne Reid The Bus is long and lean along straight grey roads. My body is used to motion and cramps but I'd rather ride as I used to or walk the road, get some sense of the earth, pace by foot by mile. The map is flat, balanced on my knees, the Rand Road Atlas. I plot my trip from Vermont to Washington. I don't want to fall off the page and end up back on the east coast. Everything's too small, the states, the fields, the people crammed in close and tight, their speech clipped and strangely vowelled.
A Matter of Survival Robin Anne Reid Face, shoulders, hips broad and big-boned, you loom on my horizon. You fed the men, the sheep, the horses, the children. Then, walking down the fields in the spring of the year, you set poison for prairie dogs and rats. Holding a can full of oats soaked in arsenic you left a spoonful at each burrow. Your hands and forearms red, you plucked chickens and drowned the orphan kittens. Blood drained from your body at each birth. You buried one stillborn daughter in summer, watched a five-year-old son die. Dry blood stains the clothing I once found in your old trunk. I wonder: a lamb, a child, or a chicken? I have your clothes, a Bible packed away, the language Welsh. I cannot understand your religion. What were you looking for? The old pictures tell me nothing. I am lost in the present, cut off from family, searching for reassurance in relics. The stories hold. the flesh fails.
Robin Anne Reid is a retired English professor who enjoys having the time to work on her critical and creative work, especially revisiting poetry which was her first love.